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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Child abuse - Are we still ignorant?

Last year I was on an official visit to Scotland. There I met another architect who was on a short visit with his homemaker wife.

A small note on colleague's wife: Let's call her X. She was a typical small town Indian lady, very conventional. Though a graduate, she found It hard to speak In English. So, being the only other lady In the group, I had to act as her mouth piece!

The place where we were staying had a creche nearby, within the premises. When we were busy with our official work. Lady X spent her time walking around the premises. One day she asked me to accompany her to this creche. She was acting so excited about those children like wow they look like porceline dolls. Sooo cute..soo chubby..their skin is so soft...their eyes are in different colors..blue, green, grey she was going on and on. My suspicion levels were raised.

"How did u get to see them at such close quarters? they were Inside the creche..right?" I asked her.

"The caretakers bring them out daily at 11 am for playing "

I: How do u know that?

X: I go there daily..watch them playing In the open ground from afar.

I: Started feeling uneasy..

I: Did u talk to the caretakers?

X: No. I tried..but they hurried away.

I warned her not to approach those children In any way spent my precious time in explaining why. Still..she had this obstinate look on her face.

One day..after our sight seeing trip we decided to shop at Tesco for some essentials. It was early evening..around 5p.m. We 6 of us were in the group. We decided to split..agreeing to finish our shopping in 2 hours and meet at the entrance. We 4 of us left Mr & Mrs. X alone to their shopping and went on our way.

Since we were in a hurry to return to London on the same night, we hurried through our shopping.

There was one tea shop In the entrance lobby and we all gathered there for our much-needed tea!

We were sitting kinda scattered ..enjoying our sandwich and tea..when 2 policemen decended on us!

They cornered Mr& Mrs.X and started firing questions.

Most of the Scot men are tall.. but believe me...Scot police men with their enormous height and tank-like build, their long and short guns dangling, they easily put fear in one's mind.

The scene was quite grim..with people watching from a safe distance..one policeman was talking on a wireless...the other one Still talking to Mrs. X with a stern expression on his face !

The problem was..

On Seeing a cute little girl wandering nearby, Lady.X threw all my warnings in the air, picked up that kid and cuddled her..it seems! Adding more Injury. Lady X asked her husband to take a photo of her holding that cute girl!

What she didnt know was all her actions were being watched through CCTV! Even Mr.X was ignorant of this fact !

Within five minutes..the father of that kid made a complaint of this objectionable act of Mr & Mrs.X and Boom!! The policemen were on X couple in a jiffy!

Even after seeing Lady.X's trouble In speaking English..they continued their interrogation relentlessly.

The problem was the father of that kid refused to let go off this Incident as an accidental one. He was hell bent on putting the suspicious lady X behind the bars!

Even after showing all the valid documents, he was not relenting. Another big problem was..Mr.X himself was just an acquaintance and we didnt know much about him to vouch for him. The police asked the rest of us to leave..but we didnt feel like leaving Mr.X in that strange land all alone facing the music.

After an hour-long explanation on culture-differences coupled with our local Scot friend's phonecall, the father finally relented with an assurance of X couple leaving Scotland for good!

When we came out, it was 12 ..midnight !

This incident may sound absurd to many of us.

But...Child abuse is verymuch real In this world. Western countries are aware of this worrying situation and act accordingly. They dont allow strangers near their children. Even a harmless smile at their children can cause suspicion. Everyone keeps away from children unless they have their parents' approval.

Here in India, awareness is almost nil. A recent survey says that sexually abused children are more in numbers Iin India!! High time we wake up to the wicked ways of human perversions.Just because our population is racing towards a new record doesnt mean our children are less precious.

Most of the Parents think that the threats come only from the outside..

But, In today's fast paced life with both the parents working, the child is often left alone in the care of neighbours, servants and relatives. Children are the most vulnerable target and sexually abusing them is the cruelest thing.

Seeing the number of child abuse cases escalating every minute, it's high time, NGOs and Govt generate more awareness programs on this Issue.

PS: One Interesting factor was through out that interrogation Lady X remained unruffled!! For a lady from a small town with little exposure, she projected an unconcerned attitude like "what I did was damn right and u better accept it" !!

At that time ..her obstinacy irritated me a lot! But at the same time, it also provoked a thought..with better education and lot of exposure, are we turning into wimps???

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pradeep said...

Nice STory....And It was a realization for me too!...M gonna be careful with kids frm now! :) .But My sympathies are with the X couple .

Umbrella said...

Oh yes! U better be careful with the kids. Saying an innocent 'hi' can put u behind bars! lolzz. Thanks for ur input.

Manjunath said...

At-least one or two child abuse cases i come across in the tv news who knows how many cases do not comes to light! what ever it is a little bit responsibility from the parents we can overcome at-least some percentage of hurdles.......

good for x couples at last they were revealed thanx for posting in future if visit any western countries will be really careful ;)