Child Abuse

Author: Aditi Chandrasekhar

There’s a saddening abundance of occurrences of child abuse that crop up in the news everyday, and it is scary to think about the fact that these are just the cases that are reported about. Child abuse is more prevalent that you’d think inside the walls of a house. Obviously, it is morally wrong to abuse any living being. In the case of child abuse though, there are a multitude of consequences (some very complex) that manifest in the victim, and these psychological repercussions often affect them throughout their lives, or at least for a significantly long period of their lives. Some scars that child abuse leaves on the victim could be physical, but there are mental ones that accompany these too-they damage the victim’s relationships and general ability to function normally. An example is a lack of trust in relationships-it becomes extremely difficult for a victim of child abuse to foster healthy, nurturing relationships with their peers as the definition of trust itself is very vague according to them, due to the simple logic- If someone they loved and respected hurt them, then what is the meaning of trust? Another consequence can be having constant feelings of worthlessness. Positive reinforcements and acts of forgiveness are important for a child’s development. They provide a strong foundation for a good self-esteem and sense of self, later on in the child’s life. If the child has been abused, they inculcate thoughts of being worthless and this stays with them for a long time. When they grow up, abused children may neglect their education and later on, adult responsibilities like their family and job. There is a higher probability of abused children to turn to extremely harmful vices like alcohol and drugs to deal with the stress and anxiety that they experience as a result of not being able to identify and regulate their emotions. There is a common misconception that child abuse is just physical acts of violence but there are actually many forms of abuse-neglect, sexual abuse, exploitation and emotional abuse too. Regardless of the type of abuse, there are many negative effects that follow and hamper the child’s growth. It is up to us to be aware of the people surrounding us, check up on them and act on any signs they may be showing. If you suspect that a child is a victim of abuse or if they confide in you about some type of abuse that they’re facing, then it is vital to keep the following things in mind:

  1. Don’t give in to denial-It is our mind’s natural reaction to reject something that seems almost too unpleasant or shocking to be true but displaying this emotion in front of the child will only harm them even more. It is important to remain calm and reassuring.
  2. Don’t interrogate-Asking questions instead of letting the child decide what and how they’re going to tell you about the abuse, will inevitably fluster them or make them uncomfortable. It is necessary to give them time and space to tell their story.
  3. Provide safety and comfort-Reassure them that they weren’t in the wrong, and that you took them seriously. Think twice about any actions you decide to take, as the child’s safety is the most important consideration in the situation and anything that may threaten it should be avoided. Don’t neglect the situation and take it to the professionals.

#MeToo

Author: Afreen

The #MeToo initiative was a movement started to combat sexual harassment and assault. It went viral in the past years as a way for victims of harassment to vent out their frustration and to call out their alleged harassers. It still continues to pick up steam to this day. Its main purpose revolved around the empowerment of vulnerable individuals and to give others a sense of the magnitude of the issue of harassment.

Using social media as a platform to reveal the prevalence of sexual violence in society, it became all the craze with people to gain the right to relate with others, and call out demeaning predatory behaviour.As the initiative met with success, by acknowledgement from even high profile celebrities, the notion that harassment shouldn’t be kept under wraps became a worldwide sensation.

Keeping in mind the publicity one gains from participating in this movement, many have filed false allegations against innocent people, without evidence, leading to a devastating effect on the lives of the accused. Like almost every other social campaign, it has fallen victim to opportunism from individuals.

Because of such disgraceful people, both sexes suffer greatly. Men are now afraid to compliment women in any way, touch them in acceptable situations or afraid to simply be alone with women at all. One bold liar is all it takes to have our lives in shambles. Men aren’t the only victims here. The price women pay for this extra security is skepticism and an arms-length approach by men in dealing with them both professionally and personally.

So, has the #MeToo really changed anything? One can’t definitely say that it has made absolutely no impact on our community. The numbers of men and women healing after confiding in to others and opening up to their therapists have shown an exponential increase after the introduction of #MeToo. The #MeToo movement gives people the courage to speak out, and since most sexual assault goes unreported

As controversial as #MeToo is, its important to remember that movements like these, have positive effects that outweigh the detrimental ones and does, in fact, bring about a large change in the mindsets of people.

Accepting Perspectives

 Author: Nikita Suryawanshi

 

Wayne Dyer quoted- “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” 

Perspective, as described by the Oxford dictionary, is a particular attitude towards something; a way of looking at things or situations. For me, perspective is but a simple truth of life which we sometimes willingly choose to ignore. For a long time, humans have divided judgement on actions and reactions into only two categories: right and wrong. But how can we decide whether something is right or wrong if everyone is looking at it from a different angle? Every individual has his/her own unique personality which makes them stand out in the crowd. Everyone’s “way of looking at things” is different. 

Most of the arguments that we normally get engaged in occur due to different point of views. When conferring about, say, a recent crime, one might be sympathizing with the victim while someone else may have put themselves in the shoes of the accused. The reason of the argument is that the other person has a different perspective on things. He is looking through his pair of glasses at the world, as well as we all do. This means that we filter everything by our personal history, our beliefs, motivations and concepts that we hold true. But what is correct for us may not necessarily be so for another.

Our choice of not understanding and accepting another outlook is what turns discussions into debates. Somewhere, it causes unrest in our own minds. Often we are afraid that seeing the other perspective could lead to us losing the argument … or worse, to get a disadvantage. But the true value of another perspective lies within seeing more of a situation and therefore being able to make a better judgment for ourselves as well as the other person. I personally feel frustrated when the person I am conversing with doesn’t try to look at things the way I do. So here’s my main question: why inflict so much torture on our minds?

I recently finished reading To Kill A Mockingbird. Reading reviews of the book, I noticed people talking about the upsetting discrimination based on the caste and colour of an independent underlined by the author. For me, however, the highlight of the book is the way the narrator grows mature when she starts accepting her neighbor for who he is. From being curious and apprehensive about his way of living life, she transforms to a person who looks at the world from his eyes, accepts his choices and in the process learns that he cares for her in his own special way.

My point, simply put, is that things seem to get complicated when we keep on opposing. Instead, life becomes plain sailing when we start accepting. Someone is acting in a particular way depending on how they perceive that situation. To acknowledge and respect another person’s perspective can only lead to a more positive outcome. The self growth accompanied by acceptance is incomparable. Not only does it broaden our horizons, it brings us peace of mind too. If you get a bigger picture, you get a perspective that is able to solve a situation that seemed unsolvable first.

The greater good is to recognize others and their viewpoints. After all, they say open-minded people do not impose their beliefs on others. They accept all of life’s perspectives and realities, doing their own thing in peace.

Safety: A Birthright of All

Our constitution grants us the Right to Life under the many civil rights that it has provided for its citizens. This privilege promises that the state has to make provisions for the well-being and the safety of its citizens, something that it has failed to do in recent times. An individual’s safety includes protection from abuse, harassment, and predators.

How is it that no number of rules or laws can stop these sexual carnivores from inflicting a lifetime of pain and trauma on unsuspecting individuals? Cases of such hideous crimes are often brought up by the media and left to become breaking news. However, what surprises me the most is how gender-specific safety has become. There are laws and laws that are being passed to ensure that every Cinderella reaches home unscathed, without having to call upon a Fairy Godmother. Women now are in possession of a prerogative which exempts them from any legal action, if found guilty of the murder of their assailant while defending themselves. But in this “We-stand-for-equality” era, aren’t the males of the society equally prone to being targets for these demons in human forms?

Last week, the news highlighted the story of a 36-year-old woman who sexually attacked a nine-year-old boy several times for more than a year, all over a family dispute. The devil dwells in a female figurine as well and is capable of causing the same amount of anguish. There is a greater need to focus on the safety of the males in this country and not leave them to defend themselves with the weapon of masculinity. The perils of avoiding sex education and making it a taboo are faced equally by both the genders. When the judiciary decided to support the rights of the LGBT community, it was unaware of the dangers that could follow. Last month, the nation heard of a case in which a woman was guilty of abusing another woman. It is not just a man with cheap sexual fantasies that a woman needs to be aware of. Her own kind is capable of wounding her in a way she never thought possible. Well, for the feminists with the singular motto of “What men can do, women can do better”, this point is definitely in your bag.

A 14-year-old boy in Mumbai reported sexual assault by a man, soon after which he died of rat poison consumption. In India, the minimum punishment for raping a boy is 10 years in jail, compared with 20 years for assaults on girls under 16. Why this discrimination? While there still is limited awareness, focus and advocacy on women’s rights in sexually violent circumstances, it is even less so when men are the victims of these crimes. A man’s culprit deserves a severe punishment like a lady’s. Every person, be it a male, a female or a transgender, has the right to feel safe and secure walking down a deserted street at any time of the day. It is the need of the hour that we start addressing the issue of male security in the country and around the globe. After all, feminism is not about one gender being better than the other; it is about all of them being equal.

While the Nirbhaya rape case of 2012 succeeded in raising awareness regarding the safety of women in the country, male victims failed to gain much attention. The masculine gender happens to be the most neglected sufferer of sexual assault. A victim cannot get over the psychological trauma easily. It is essential that we try to understand their perspective and ensure that their voices are heard. One can spend a lifetime trying to forget a few moments that lie in the past. Martin Luther King Jr. aptly said our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. From infancy, males are told that they should strive to be masculine, i.e. resilient, self-sufficient, dominant in sexual interactions and able to defend both themselves and those relying on them for protection. This has to change. We, as a society, need to understand that these assumptions, very often, become barriers for them to open up and share their experiences. They believe that encounters of such abuse may contravene with these expectations. The right to equal safety provisions has to change
as an under-discussed phenomenon. It’s work that we all have to start right now.