One day our children will transform into adults, our daughters will be wives and mothers, and our sons will portray the roles of a husband and a father. So, what should I be telling them that in which kind of a society do we live in? A society that comprises of rapists, stalkers, and misogynists? I feel ashamed being a part of this society, where girls/women are worshipped in the name of goddess Durga, whereas they are raped and torn apart, be it schools, colleges, at home, publicly. The accused’s hands don’t tremble, their heart doesn't feel pain, their heads don’t shake, their minds simply looking for quenching their disgusting thirst by raping a 4-year-old girl, who has been sent to school to study and learn something. From signing a petition to immense trolling on Facebook and other social media to pleading for justice to making it one of the hottest topics of discussion to parents protesting outside the school seeking justice for their innocent to blaming school authorities for their neglect and irresponsibility to sharing posts on face book to excessive number of likes and comments and suggestions to spending sleepless nights ,to thinking about the safety and security of our own children , I literally feel pathetic and helpless now.
What should be done to ensure that our kids are safe in school? How can we be sure and relieved that our child is in safe hands? How to educate our children against this play game that is gaining terrific velocity in recent years? Can we rely upon schools – that is believed to be an intuition of faith, knowledge, wisdom. That is a second home to our children, where they spend the maximum time of their life? With the recent tidbits of rape cases creating trepidation among parents and loss of trust among school premises for not performing dutifully, how can parents model and drill their children so that they are able to escape from such situations?
- Educate your child and make them aware of their own rights over their body.Haplessly, in India providing sex education is considered a shame and a taboo. As a result of this, little do our kids know about the consequences of having forceful sex. With the hike in the number of rape cases, don’t we think that this is a contentious issue and educating our children of their own rights must no longer be made esoteric? It is the combined responsibility of schools as well as parents to bring about a radical change, refine our education system. Rather than stressing upon securing excellent marks and craving for their schools to be on top position, we need to inculcate human values and build children of moral caliber. Teach them about the good touch and the bad touch. Make them learn that if any person touches his/her body parts, they ought to bluntly say ‘NO’. And that their NO has to be respected. If the activity still persists, they need to inform immediately to their parent or teacher in school. Help them learn the difference between good touch and bad touch through signs or gestures. These sessions should be taken on a daily basis by parents, other than their academic ones.
- Parents should act as a friend rather than a strict teacher: Focus on creating such an environment at home so that the child feels absolutely relaxed and comfortable talking to you if they feel they have been cheated or forced by someone’s wrong behavior. Often, children are pulled by fear of punishment, complexities, and doubts in their mind, whenever they feel the need to express their concern, feelings. As a parent, we should act as their coach and life supporter. They are unaware of the wrong that has been done to them and only if we go down to their level, empathize we can connect to them wholly. They can open their heart to us and give us a clue of the danger that is involved.
- Indulge in daily conversations on the latest news, updates: Daily, plan out to discuss these types of cases preferably in the form of stories with your children and give them possible solutions as what could be done. It is the sheer absence of human and moral values in our education system that has given birth to these heinous crimes. Let your child asks as many questions related to such stories and feel free to answer them in a manner that they understand and get to know the consequences.
- Ask open ended questions- Often, we step back from engaging in detailed talks with our children, either due to lack of time or thinking that we can talk regarding this some other day, now is not the perfect time. Here, we are wrong. Always ask open ended questions: Like how was the day in the school? Did everything go well? What did they learn? This will make them feel connected to you and they would actively approach to you in case of any help and under such conditions.
- Drawing a line of control at home: As children are often unaware of their own habits and they take it for fun, whatever they see they tend to take it for granted. The other my son Jai (5 years old) was changing his clothes in front of his sister Prisha (4 years old) and both of them are really naughty. Children of their age, perhaps do not know what they are doing is right or wrong. Even sometimes my daughter takes out her shirt in front of her brother. It’s completely understood that they are small, but then we ought to create a line of control starting from today itself and let them know the right and wrong endeavor even if that comes to their own brother and sister. And explain to them that next time you have to take care of this as you a girl and he is a boy.
- Lead by examples- The other day Jai and Prisha were watching their favorite cartoon serial and suddenly they switched over to some other channel. The content that channel displayed was something that was not meant for such kids. That was a rape scene and what was surprising was that both of them took a keen interest in watching the sequence and as soon as I interfered they started asking me all sorts of questions. At first, I felt a little shy but then, I explained them and told them that such acts are a crime, horrible and spoil the life of children and also if such instances occur to them, how they should tell them to their parents. They listened to me like good kids and promised that from now onwards they will never watch such episodes. From that day till now, we discuss those scenes but only with a view to make them learn of the harsh consequences involved.
- Make sure that both the partners contribute equally: Sometimes, the father feels conscious when it comes to addressing such issues in the family especially with the kids. They feel that whatever children have been learning in school or whatever their mother have taught is sufficient. The assumption that the beliefs, values, moral lessons are the task of a mother is incorrect. Both the parents should contribute their share equally in matters concerning their kid’s safety. It would be better if both the parents talk to each other over such sensitive issues and come out with a conclusion. If possible parents can also form a parental community in their society where such cases are regularly and actively discussed and worked upon. However, it takes a lot of practice and patience to bring these steps into action. Nonetheless, we should keep moving and working in this regard, so that we all together can transform and put a full stop to this horrible dynamo (rapes, abuses, assaults).
I hope that if we follow these guidelines, with consistency and faith, we can prevent such incidents from sprouting further. Children are like seeds, young and sensitive. The quality of seed that will emerge depends solely on the type of water we are adding to it. Similarly, how bold /strong our children will depend on how strong our roots of parenting are. Let’s take a pledge in this regard and gift them the legacy of safety and security in order for their lives to flourish.