I was about 7 or 8yrs when I recall the first incident. I remember being scared to go to a particular store right below our flat because an ‘uncle’ there would give me the creeps. He’d brush against me and touch me weirdly when my parents weren’t looking and it just weirded me out. I never told my parents because it was a shop we always went to and well…who’d expect an old uncle to do anything wrong right?? WRONG!
Next, I was about 11 when I had a stalker of sorts. He’d be there in the elevator with me right after I came back from school and headed home. He’d just stare at me and I’d feel weird, but never said anything because errr…how do you accuse someone negatively for just looking at you right? Then 1 fine day he asks me to give him a kiss and that just had to ring alarm bells in my head. Thank God I stayed on the 3rd floor only (it was a 13floor bldg) so I could get out fast. I remember going to the bathroom and crying coz I thought I’d done something wrong. But I felt too threatened to let it go. I told my dad and I don’t want to go into any details but in short, we lodged a police complaint, had a sting op (yes, it seems very TV-ish this way doesn’t it?), and got the guy arrested and deported…Man! I love Gulf laws when it comes to women’s safety! But this left me with fear for men such that if a boy came within 1 foot of me I’d start shivering…
Again the next time I was about 13yrs and going home and again a fellow stepped into the elevator with me (what is it with me and elevators!?!) and the 1st thing I noticed was that he was barefoot. But nothing was said, I got off on my floor and rang the bell; luckily Mom had come home early from work that day. My mom opens the door, her eyes pop open and she asks, ‘Who is this?’ I look back and scream because the same guy silently followed me and was standing right behind me (by this I do mean RIGHT BEHIND, a hairs breath away). My mom shooed him away and we later came to know he was under the influence of drugs. But I shudder to think that if my mom weren’t home and I’d opened the door myself, this guy could have easily followed me home and in the fragile state I was, I’d have been too freaked to do anything…
These are the 3 main events in my life which made me develop a fear for men. It lasted till I was about 20yrs of age…The age when girls tend to giggle about guys and ogle them unabashedly was the age when I’d get disgusted at them and wear loose clothing just so not a single curve would be visible…No girl should have to go through this ever! I always feel that if I’d have understood the funda of ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ and the fact that it has nothing to do with age, I’d have maybe been a very different person.
The reason I chose to write this post today is because at the rate rapes cases are being reported, it’s no mystery that we mothers are feeling shit-scared for our kids regardless of whether they are boys or girls. The fact of the matter is that our kids are at risk no matter if they are being brought up in Delhi (said to be the rape capital), even down south, or any place in between. And no longer are these cases restricted to teens or college goers but even kids. Those tiny tots with their fragile minds at risk..and I have one of those tiny angels too. The mere thought that my girl is at risk makes me shudder… and I know many of you feel the same way.
We all know how hard it is to explain this stuff to children. The truth is way too gruesome to be explained bluntly and yet, it’s become a necessity to make them aware from very early on itself.
So today’s post is just a short write-up of how to explain to your kid about when it’s time to come to you for help and not stay quiet wondering if what that ‘Uncle’ just did was ok or not…
- Are those touches good or bad. We all have a sense of good and bad touch from the day we enter this world. Call it intuition, 6th sense, anything, but thank God we have the sense to feel which touches are positive and which are not. We have to explain to our toddlers about how a ‘Good touch’ is one which makes them feel loved and secure..like when they are in our arms; and how a ‘Bad touch’ is one which makes them feel uncomfortable or hurts..like when a stranger tries to carry them.
- The CAG domain is out of bound for anyone! This is something I saw on SatyamevJayate last year, where Aamir Khan coached children to understand 3 out of bound areas: Chest-Anus-Genitals. No matter if the child is outside, the minute anyone does this ( apart from a doctor in your presence), its time to scream and run.
- Doesn’t matter if its an ‘Uncle’ or ‘Aunty’, the minute you feel discomfort come and tell Mumma or Daddy. This is a point which every child must bee told no matter what. 70% of harassment cases happen through an uncle or an aunt and these cases never come out just because the child feels that since the person is a relative or a close one.
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