Ever since #MeToo spread like wildfire, people have been more forthcoming confessing instances of sexual assault and harassment. People used WhatsApp statuses, Tweets and Instagram posts to publicly denounce their molesters.
Yet the most shocking aspect remained an alarmingly high ratio of childhood sex abuse. We speak to Puneites who break the silence on cases of groping and molestation they faced as children.
It happened when I was four years old. It was the auto-driver took me to nursery school in Viman Nagar along with many other children from my batch.
“He used to make me sit on his lap up front instead of behind with the other kids. That’s when he’d touch me inappropriately,” reveals Akanksha Kaul. “I guess I must have innocently reported the incident to my mother. She gave the auto-driver a talking to and I was ferried to school by my nanny then on.”
“I’d all but forgotten the incident, but my mother happened to mention it when #MeToo was trending,” she explains.
“My maid’s husband used to undress me while she cooked in the kitchen,” murmurs Riddhi Iyer. The 16-year old shares that she was three years old at the time of the incident. “It was my 10-year-old brother who busted the man. Adarsh himself told me the whole story last year. The couple were the caretakers of the estate and would look after my brother and I until our parents returned from work.
The worst part is that my parents refused to believe us. I guess it was all about taking the word of a 10-year-old versus the ‘faithful’ servants who had been in their service for years together.
“However, what my brother then began to scream at the top of his lungs whenever the man tried anything with the three-year-old me. So that deterred the man and caught the attention of his wife, the clueless maid.”
Mihika Oswal voices her own shocking saga. “My neighbour who was 17 at the time was babysitting my brother and I. I remember him giving us ‘kissing lessons’. We’re fraternal twins and we were seven at the time. We had no clue what to expect and what not to expect from a babysitter. I feel mom and dad should have spoken to us about boundaries, what was appropriate and what wasn’t with a stranger or even relative in the house!”
Sagar Oswal, her brother talks about the traumatising experience.
It was way back in 1994 before the penetration of the internet. So, the only way kids could receive sex education was from their parents. As you know Indian society refrains from touching upon certain subjects deeming them taboo.
“As a result, seven-year-olds are molested by caregivers who the parents themselves choose.
“Kudos folks!” Sagar adds bitterly. “I cannot stress enough the importance of speaking to your children about this. My son is four, but I’ve already had a word with him, doing all I can to explain that he should not let himself be touched a certain way by anyone.
“Irrespective of the gender of your child, this is a must today as the society is rife with pedophilic creeps,” he says painting a grim, albeit realistic picture.
#All views expressed in this column are those of the individual respondents ( names changed to protect privacy)
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