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Apologies to patriotic people, but most of us Indians are not sensitive to special needs people & their emotions. Let's make this world a better place for them!
Apologies to patriotic people, but most of us Indians are not sensitive to special needs people & their emotions. Let’s make this world a better place for them!
My daughter Farheena is a young, smart lady with special needs. She is 26 years of age. I was diagnosed with 3rd Stage breast cancer when she was just 11 months old. Considering how our society responds to people who are different in any way, I was so scared to die that I kicked cancer and continued living. Of course, I had to undergo regular treatment to overcome cancer, but it was not tough.
What has been tough is fighting for the dignity my daughter deserves; especially in my immediate surroundings. Sorry patriotic people, my apologies to you in advance, but most of us Indians are not sensitive to special needs people and their emotions. At times I have come across angels as well, but most of them have behaved as though they carry the devil on both shoulders.
I visited the USA with my children in 2008. When I was going through some pictures of our USA trip, to my utter shock I found a lot of difference in the expressions of Farheena when she was in the USA and now when she is in India.
I pushed the thought aside thinking it was all in my imagination. Without mentioning anything about what I felt, I showed her pictures to a few of our friends and they said the same thing. They say she was a different girl in those pictures.
I feel sad about the fact that she walked around happily in Wal-Mart, Publix and other malls without caring as to who is looking at her. Often, she welcomed strangers with a ‘hi’ and they readily waved back a big ‘hi’ to her.
At times this was leading to quite some communication with Paula, my friend as a mediator for Farheena. No one treated her as a special needs girl there; she was just a special girl enjoying all the love and attention.
Back in India, most of the time Farheena is pushed into silence by people asking what she is saying over and over again. This was because they cannot understand her, or discuss what is wrong with her without even realizing they are hurting her emotionally.
They ask questions just because they have to satisfy their curiosity. They need not bother, as they know very well that they cannot help her in any way. At least they could allow her to be herself – a beautiful happy young lady.
Though I stand proudly with my daughter, it hurts when people are insensitive. The life of the differently abled people would be much better if people read this list and improved their behaviour.
This request comes directly from the heart of a mother with a special needs child. This is not an imaginary list but it is what I have come across in the past 25 years. Believe me, it is much worse than what I have put out here.
First and foremost:
Finally, please don’t take advantage of their innocence
Words have the ability to heal and hurt. Use your words wisely. Just because you can talk, you need not use that ability to create pain and sorrow.
Image source: Still from Shakuntala Devi
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I am Farida Rizwan, 55, Counselor and Psychotherapist working as Senior Curriculum Developer with Chimple Learning. I am ardent blogger @www.chaptersfrommylife.com and share my life experiences of surviving breast cancer 3rd stage for read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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If you want to get back to work after a break, here’s the ultimate guide to return to work programs in India from tech, finance or health sectors - for women just like you!
Last week, I was having a conversation with a friend related to personal financial planning and she shared how she had had fleeting thoughts about joining work but she was apprehensive to take the plunge. She was unaware of return to work programs available in India.
She had taken a 3-year long career break due to child care and the disconnect from the job arena that she spoke about is something several women in the same situation will relate to.
More often than not, women take a break from their careers to devote time to their kids because we still do not have a strong eco-system in place that can support new mothers, even though things are gradually changing on this front.
No law in the country recognises enabling the rapist to walk free after marrying the survivor. However, in reality, it is something that families and communities often push for.
In the same week where the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, 11 May, saw a split decision on the constitutionality of the marital rape exception, another equally reactionary decision was handed by a divisional bench of the Supreme Court when they set aside the conviction and sentence of a man who had repeatedly raped his 14 year old niece
The facts of the case are simple. The accused, K Dhandapani, enticed his 14 year old niece with the promise of marriage and raped her several times. The family came to know of the offence when the girl became pregnant, and a case was lodged against him under the Protection of Child from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. After trying his case, in 2018, the Sessions Court found him guilty on all three counts, and convicted him and sentenced him to 10 years rigorous imprisonment. The accused appealed to the Madras High Court which upheld the conviction and the sentence in 2019.
The girl gave birth in 2017, before the case came up in court. Despite the pending case against him, he continued to have sexual relations with the girl, and she gave birth to her second child at the age of 17.