“Kahaani 2”, the second instalment of the ‘Kahaani’ franchise may have failed to recreate the magic of the first one, but the film has thrown light on the ever-so-sensitive issue of child sexual abuse. Sexual abuse at home is a horrifying reality for thousands of children in India. Right from a stray touch on the road to making obscene phone calls during the late hours of the night, Everything falls under sexual abuse.
On a personal note, I saw a middle-aged guy sitting in a car and staring unapologetically at a group of college girls. I guess all of us have seen that at least once in our life. Only the faces and the eyes change, the situation remains pretty much constant. Among the numerous problems faced by women, this one happens to be quite common these days. All of us must have seen this quite, but instead of taking a step forward in order to stop the nuisance, we prefer to turn a blind eye towards it.
On a cold December morning, I saw Vidya Balan’s character Durga Rani Singh screaming, trying to express her anger at a family for molesting their daughter. It seemed that someone had dug their nails on a wound our society refuses to accept. The film brilliantly showcased what other similar films had shied away from showcasing in broad daylight, that sexual violence inside the ‘warmth’ and ‘safety’ of our homes is as much a reality as it is outside.
I remember reading countless stories of adolescent girls who were sexually abused by their own cousins and it showcased a rather grim side of the entire problem. The first time these girls were abused, they hardly knew what was happening. A girl, aged 21 narrated an incident, as shared on Vagabomb, which had occurred in 2003 when she was hardly 9 years old:
“While my body was still changing and we didn’t even have the slightest of ideas about anything happening around us. I was taken into the bedroom by my elder cousin who was 7 years elder to me. He slid his hands under my shirt, I lay motionless, having absolutely no idea of what was happening. It was a wintery evening in December and both of us were lying on the bed with a blanket rolled over us. It was years later that I realised the real intention behind those touches.”
This is just one of the many countless stories that have shown their ugly head and have yet managed to escape without anyone even noticing them. The worst part about suffering sexual abuse at home is that the perpetrator lurks nearby. You can choose not to interact with that person in particular, but you can’t just avoid him. You’ll meet him every time you go to attend a wedding in the family, or perhaps when you go to attend your cousin’s birthday. It is something that leaves behind deep scars and these scars refuse to heal, no matter how hard we try.
Education shouldn’t just be limited to of textbooks mathematics and science. It should inculcate a sense of understanding among students. An understanding of what is right and what is wrong. And, the saddest part is that these perpetrators are human beings like all of us, and, that my friend, is the most shocking aspect of the entire problem, but it isn’t your fault. Faces can be extremely deceptive at times.
If you are a survivor, parent or guardian who wants to seek help for child sexual abuse, or know someone who might, you can dial 1098 for CHILDLINE (a 24-hour national helpline) or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.