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I live in a laid back apartment comprising of middle class and upper middle class families. Of the 45 flats at least 25 apartments have kids. All of us living our own lives. But, All of us were shaken to the core on that Friday night in July, when we got to know that a eight year old girl Radha (name changed) was molested by our milk man.
Milkman is about 50 years and has been regular to our apartment since 10 years. He speaks pleasantly to all and is punctual in delivering the cow's milk twice a day. Radha (eight year old) and Smriti (four year old) were playing outside Smriti's house. Seeing the milkman come, Smirti and Radha ran into Smriti's house to get the vessel for milk. Milkman had seen that Smirti's mother had gone out. But to confirm, he asked Smriti if anyone was at home. When Smriti confirmed, that no one was in the house, he immediately got into the house, closed the door and curtains. He got hold of Radha who was in the kitchen with the vessel and shooed Smriti away asking her to go and play. Smriti wasn't willing to leave her friend but milkman yelled at her so she came to the hall to watch TV.
Thankfully, almost immediatly Sundari (7 year old) came to Smriti's house to play and she rang the bell. Smriti who couldn't open the door, opened the window and told that she couldn't come out to play, since door is locked, and Radha was with the milkman in the kitchen. Hearing this milkman panicked and rushed out. Thankfully, Radha escaped with few smooches.
This whole incident happened within two minutes. Radha narrated this to her mother. In matter of few minutes, the entire building was shaken and shocked. None of us knew what should be done next, how to punish the milkman, how to talk to the child. Finally, her parents called the child care number 1098. Within, few minutes police was at the apartment. Police took the statement of both the girls and next day nabbed the milkman. Parents took the decision not to file a FIR to avoid media and to protect the child. Building comprised of all educated folks - engineers / doctors / teachers / lecturers. But, none knew how to handle the situation.
I began my search on this and found and organisation "Enfold" that deals with Child Sexual Abuse. "Enfold is an organisation that works in the space of gender empowerment,sexuality and personal safety since 2001.Enfold is in the preventive and rehabilitative space, conducting sessions, trainings and support in the event of a situation of Child Sexual Abuse.Enfold trains doctors/police/judiciary and counselors on their roles and responsibilities and has employees who are registered as support personnel by the Child Welfare Committee. If anyone needs support , they can be reached at- Contact : +91-99000-94251, +91-80-25520489, mail: email@example.com, website:www. enfoldindia.org" I have been circulating this message to bring awareness to people.
An online complaint box for reporting child sexual abuse, the POCSO e-Box was launched by the Minister for Women and Child Development, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in New Delhi.The e-Box is incorporated prominently in the home page of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) website http://ncpcr.gov.in/ where a user has to simply push a button named POSCO e-Box. This will navigate to a page with a window containing an animation movie. The animation movie reassures the child that whatever has happened to him/her is not his/her fault and she/he need not feel guilty and that NCPCR is a friend which will help her.
When such an incident happens, support beyond police is a must.
Now, Why did I narrate the whole thing? 1. It is important to understand that it takes only few seconds, for any wrong thing to happen. We can't be with kids all the time. This can happen when the parents have gone to bathroom, have gone to pick courier from the watchman, have gone to pick clothes from terrace or have gone to pick a bowl of sugar from the neighbour. 2. We need to educated them about bad and good touches [safe and unsafe touches]. 3. We need to teach them to shout "No". 4. We need to tell kids that it is fine to scratch / kick / beat and bite any known / unknown person if needed. 5. We need to tell kids that if any person is holding her / his friend then to stay on there and shout if help is needed. Let's keep our kids safe.