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Children's curiosity about bodies is entirely natural; If we don't respond well to this curiosity, they can act on it in destructive ways.
Children’s curiosity about bodies is entirely natural; If we don’t respond well to this curiosity, they can act on it in destructive ways.
The recent case of a 4-year-old in Delhi allegedly being sexually assaulted by her classmate, has left us all horrified and asking ourselves where we are going wrong.
Childhood is a phase of life that is associated with innocence and curiosity. Yet, can their curiosity about bodies and the differences between boys and girls really take such forms? This is perhaps partially what happened here. Apparently, away from the supervision of the class teacher or anybody else, this disturbing incident took place. This might be putting thing subtly but we cannot forget that the alleged ‘assaulter’ is also a 5-year-old, at the end of the day. Therefore, the usual idea of blaming the perpetrator of violence will not work here.
The fault lies with all of us: the school, the parents, and the society, in general. If we keep pointing fingers now, there is no guarantee that another such incident will not take place again. BUT if we narrow down the problematic areas, there might be some hope.
One of those factors is the absence of any kind of age-appropriate sex education in our schools and homes, alike. Sex is a taboo in our country and this curiosity that follows a taboo is half the reason for all the sexual violence that we witness. The lack of awareness of their bodies, and of the opposite sex is a powerful motivator of inappropriate actions even in adults, so children can hardly be expected to do anything different.
We need to start inculcating in children an awareness of their body parts, setting ground rules for consensual physical interaction and building an environment which helps the kids talk openly about whatever they like to their parents, without hesitation. Start with naming body parts correctly, rather than hushing up kids when they ask what a penis or vagina is, saying ‘chee chee’. A 5-year-old is not aware of their own abilities, and with the high exposure to all sorts of things in the outside world, we cannot always predict the notions that they form in their heads and then act upon. If you ask that little boy why he did what he did, I’m sure he will have an explanation about it that made sense in his brain.
Childhood is the phase when these foundations can be laid solidly, thus it is only necessary that we include the topics of body parts, sex and physical interaction in this foundation, the right way. I hope that this incident brings the lack of this awareness to the light, and incite the correct measures ASAP.
New Delhi, India
I like to read, write, and talk. A feminist through and through, with a soft spot for chocolate. read more...
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I recommend reading Manjiri Indurkar's Origami Aai alongside her memoir to have a fulfilling and enriching experience of telling one's story with grace.
It’s All In Your Head, M famed author Manjiri Indurkar’s debut poetry collection, Origami Aai, is independent and yet an extension of her memoir in which she speaks with utmost grace about all forms of abuses that she has survived. In this book of intriguing and evocative poems, the poet weaves words to form images of the everyday life of her middle-class family, love found and lost, trauma, and healing.
The collection is divided into four segments, beginning with the family, slowly moving towards the world, and finally colliding them together.
We aren’t in mourning, but we are creatures of habit.
So we talk of each one who died of drowning,
and I listen to her stories with the patience
of a chronicler.
– Funereal Stories
Homemakers or as we often call them, 'housewives' are IMO the most underestimated and disrespected of women. Time this changed.
I am so glad to write about this as homemakers were and till are the most undervalued and underestimated.
Having grown up in Indian society, I have witnessed people disrespecting homemakers by delivering various comments like, “saara din ghar par to hoti ho karti kya ho” (being at home what do you do full day), “housewives ke pass to bahut time hota hai” (housewives have a lot of time), “subah kaam hota hai fir to free hi free saara din” (you have work in the morning and then you are free the whole day).
I am a working woman and I confess that I can go to work because earlier my mother and now my mother-in-law share responsibilities with me. People feel the work of a homemaker is easy but honestly, it’s not. I see my mother-in-law waking up at 6 am and working non-stop till night. In fact, I would say the life of some working individuals are much more sorted and simple than that of a homemaker.
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