“It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” ~ Frederick Douglass

 It is difficult writing about fun activities at ILM when I am so aware that an innocent child has been violated. A touch can destroy or heal a child. Any touch that makes a child even slightly uncomfortable is an Absolute No. In the case of the little girl it was the most heinous of crimes committed by a trusted adult in a trusted place.

Child sexual abuse is rampant. Unfortunately it comes into focus only when a case becomes public. What is even more unfortunate is that as the media attention shifts to other more ‘relevant’ topics and as the public memory fades, we forget that crimes against millions of children are still being perpetrated on a daily basis across the world.

We also forget that the child victim for whom we recently organized a candle light vigil or a bandh or some other form of protest, is still coping with the complete betrayal of trust and violation of her person that will take years to heal. Let us promise ourselves that we will not allow this incident to fade from our memories. We will stay aware and stand up against abuse in whatever capacity we can.

When we read or hear about such incidents our immediate, natural concern is for our own children and rightly so perhaps. There is not much that you or I can do to wipe away the trauma of the child victim and her family. What we can do is to ensure that other children, our own children are protected against such crimes. This can only be done by learning about child safety – what we need to do as responsible adults and citizens to create safe spaces for children.

Two organizations that I personally know are doing excellent work in the area of child protection are Enfold India Trust and Tulir. Take a few minutes to visit their websites when you have time.  The book, Bitter Chocolate written by acclaimed Indian author Pinki Virani is also a very good resource to understand the issue of child sexual abuse in India and its complex nature.

What we need to understand and empathize on in the recent case in Bangalore is that when the much required din created by the media, government and non governmental agencies eventually dies down, it is this child and her family that will have to draw all their positive energies to live normally again: start trusting adults all over again. I pray for her and the family and hope that someday she will heal and come out a survivor.