Let’s Talk About Child Abuse | Art plays an instrumental role in healing
Art plays an instrumental part in healing, gives a voice to what is otherwise painful to express in cases of child sexual abuse.Updated: Oct 01, 2017 14:17 IST
A decade ago, the women and child development ministry conducted a study to better understand the problem of child sexual abuse in India and found that nearly 70% of children had suffered physical abuse and nearly 50% had suffered sexual abuse in some form.
Things have not changed much since then. In a recent survey, it was found that one in every two children in India faces sexual abuse before turning 18. More than 45,000 children in the age group of 12-18 participated in this survey conducted by World Vision India. The findings presented in the report were very disturbing – they revealed that one in every five children reported feeling unsafe due to the fear of being sexual abused.
It was found that there was a huge silence surrounding the issue, with one in four families not coming forward to report an abuse. According to a 2015 report by the non-profit organisation ‘Save the Children’, what makes reporting difficult for victims and their families is that in 94.8% of the cases, the perpetrator is a known face. This makes it extremely difficult for victims to come out and tell what took place because they fear no one would believe them and because of the stigma associated with child sexual abuse.
As a result, they often suffer in silence for years. But art plays an instrumental part in healing, gives a voice to what is otherwise painful to express and reminds us that the shame is not ours. The two poems written below reflect on this. They are written by Prerna Bakshi -- the author of ‘Burnt Rotis, With Love’.
I used to like playing games
with little toy guns until
one day, while the elders talked
downstairs, he snuck me into
My interest in toys ended
that day and with it ended
my childhood, though not
my interest in guns. That grew.
12 years old.
Come here, he said. Look what I’ve got for you, he said. I wanted it to be a surprise, he said. I’ve been planning to show you for days, he said. I’ve made sure it pops out as soon as you unwrap it, he said. I bet you’ll open your mouth as soon as you see it, he said. You might scream, he said. You might cry, he said. You might say I shouldn’t have, he said. But I know you wanted it, he said. So don’t be shy, he said. Come here, he said. Come and lie down with me, he said. It’s under these sheets, he said. Get your head under there, he said. Start looking, he said. Don’t come out until you find it, he said.
I hadn’t come out
The author and tweets at @bprerna
This is the fifth part of the HT series Let’ s Talk About Child Abuse. Join the conversation on @htTweets and send us your ideas and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org