After an overwhelming response of the first episode of “Satyamev Jayate” or “Truth Alone prevails”, Aamir discussed the issue of sexual abuse of children in the second episode. He has worked with various NGO’s as a part of his research.
The show was a clever blend of hard facts and emotional appeal. It started with Aamir’s assurance that his intention is neither to hurt anybody’s feelings and nor to defame any person but it is his humble contribution towards the Indian society that faces a number of challenges but unfortunately we have a tendency to ignore these issues. This further encourages the culprits. We need to openly discuss these issues and find a solution. Raise awareness of social evils that plague the Indian society.
The previous episode was about motherhood but this episode was about children. Every child is precious for his or her parents and the life of parents keeps on revolving around their child. They are always worried about the wellbeing of their child. Aamir’s parents were very protective when he was a child and when he showed his resentment against the protective nature of his parents, his mother used to say that he will be able to understand her feelings when he became a parent. Most of us have heard these words from our parents and Aamir was able to understand his mother’s feelings when his first child was born. He had invited those parents to the show, whose kids were less than 13 to 14 years old.
A research was conducted on a group of people by Women and Child Welfare Ministry in the year 2007. The purpose of the research was to find out the percentage of children in India who have been the victims of child abuse. The results were scary and they disclosed that 53% of the respondents had been the victims of child sexual abuse in their childhood. In other words, it’s one out of every two children. This does not happen only in big cities but in other parts of the country too. This figure clearly reveals that our children are not safe. This is like a nightmare for any parent. As parents we believe that our kids are safe when they are at home.
This was followed by a tragic story of 6 year old Anamika. Her parents decided to hire a tutor for her when she was in grade 1. Though the decision was meant to help Anamika but it shattered her childhood. She was sexually abused by her tutor. Whenever the tutor arrived, her parents used to shut the door so that she would not be disturbed while studying but this gave her tutor an opportunity to continue with his indecent behavior. The worst part was that he was able to win confidence of her parents and Anamika was so afraid that she was never able to disclose this to her parents. She thought that no one would believe her. She lost faith in herself and her confidence was shattered. She was sexually abused for 7 years despite the presence of 22 elders in her family. In most of the cases the child sex abuser is either a part of the family or he wins the confidence of the parents to such an extent that the parents start trusting him.
This was followed the shocking story of Cinderella Prakash. She had all the comforts of life and her childhood had been full of fun. Whether it was in academics or co curricular activities, she has always been a winner. She is working in a reputed company and her life is full of hope but one corner of her heart is totally dark. She doesn’t want to go back to her childhood like other people. When she was twelve years old, her mother’s kidneys were not functioning properly and twice a week, her parents had to go to the hospital for dialysis. On one such day, when her parents had gone to the hospital and her brother had gone out to play, a 55 year old man who was a close friend of her parents came home and that was the day when she was sexually abused by him. She felt so helpless that she wasn’t able to move. The worst part was that her parents respected him and used to take his opinion for everything. He used to visit her parents frequently and Cinderella kept on running away from him for years. She could not tell her parents as she thought that they will not be able to leave her alone and go for dialysis. Moreover she had no words to express her problem in front of her parents. He made another attempt to abuse her but she was able to escape. She shared this bitter fact of her life with her parents when she grew up and they were shocked. Though her parents had always been open and supportive but she could not manage to speak about this part of her life. Her example clearly indicates that parents need to be alert.
She has been strong enough to leave her past behind because she believes that if the incident should haunt anybody then it should haunt him and not her as she has not done anything wrong. It’s very important to break the silence. She was able to pour out her feelings through her songs as she likes to compose and sing songs.
It’s not only the girls who become victims of child sex abuse but also the boys. In fact, the research that was conducted by Women and Child Welfare Ministry in the year 2007 indicated that more than 50% of the respondents who became the victims of child sex abuse are boys.
Harish Iyer from Mumbai was brought up like any other boy and he works at a senior position in a reputed company but during his childhood, he had been coping with terrible circumstances and his parents were not aware. He was sexually abused by a man, whom his parents had trusted for 11 years. While he was going through this, he was neither afraid and nor angry. He was like a stone. He had been leading two lives at the same time. In one part of his life, he was being abused and in the other he wasn’t. He never wanted the two parts of his life to mix with each other. He wasn’t close to any male member of his family because he thought that every male member was capable of harming him. When he tried to tell his mother about this when he was ten years old, she did not believe him. Moreover the man who used to abuse Harish had warned him that he would kill him if he tried to tell about this to anybody. When his mother did not believe him even when he made an attempt to tell her for the second time, he realized that his mother could not stand up for him. It wasn’t any human but it was his dog that helped him. The dog was always able to know that something had gone wrong and Harish used to pour his heart out in front of his dog. Whenever he cried, the dog used to lick his tears. Apart from his dog, the film Industry had also helped him. He was an ardent fan of Sridevi and lived in a fantasy world where Sridevi was one character of force due to the fact that in every film she used to emerge as a winner by beating up the villain. Sridevi was a source of inspiration for him and he was able to muster courage to say NO but all this took 11 years from the age of 7 till 18. Now Harish thinks that every person has to face a challenge in his or her life and this was the challenge selected by God for him. Now he does not wish to succumb. Though he cannot repair his past but he wants to inform the children that such a situation is possible and they need to be careful. Harish’s mother was also present and she admitted that she had been afraid of the society and didn’t know how to handle the situation. She thought that her sister’s marriage was at stake. So, she decided to be quiet but now she has realized that she had failed to understand her son. She conveyed a message to all the parents that if their child tells them of any such incident, then they must believe their child and not the adults around him. She feels guilty for not being able to stand beside her son at that time. Aamir assured her that now she is standing beside her son and this is what that matters the most.
It must have been difficult for all the victims to discuss their childhood trauma in order to educate our society. It’s a misconception that a victim of child sexual abuse is liberated from the trauma when he or she becomes an adult but the reality is that its effect does not wear off easily. One such victim was Naazneen was abused by a male relative till the age of 13 but even today she is facing the consequences as an adult. She had always been trying to run away from life and she became a drug addict. She has been depressed for most of her life and if she stops taking anti depressants, then she may turn suicidal.
Ganesh Nallari is another victim who is still suffering from the consequences of child sexual abuse. He is a successful fashion designer but as a child, he was sexually abused for eleven years by his uncle. At present he is 34 years old but he has never been in a relationship because he is tired of being hurt. He has a grudge against God because he feels that his childhood has been snatched away from him but at the same time he forgave his abuser on the day he passed away. He could not have lived with the burden if he had not forgiven him.
Anuja Gupta who runs an NGO called RAHI, made the viewers understand a child's psychology if he or she becomes a victim of child sexual abuse. She said that if the adults find it difficult to speak on this topic, then how can we expect a child to speak about it? As parents, we need to be more receptive and we need to understand what a child tries to convey. Children are smart enough to understand that their parents may not believe them. In some cases a child may try to tell his or her parents about the abuse but if the parents don’t believe, and then the trauma is much more serious as compared to the trauma of abuse. Being silent acts as self preservative for the child. Moreover, silence is a part of the abuse created by the abuser as he keeps on threatening the victim. If a child tells his parents that he or she has been sexually victimized, the parents need to believe because a child can never lie about this. They need to assure the child and take the necessary action. Parents have a tendency to think of the society but they need to focus on their child.
Dr. Rajat Mitra, who is a clinical psychologist, revealed that most of the child sexual abusers are not guilty about their act. For six years, he has tried to study the psychology of such abusers in Tihar jail. Such people always make a planned move. They use their charm to win a child’s confidence and spend a lot of time with the child. This should be treated as a warning sign. A child should be taught to respect the behavior elders and not their age. Towards the end of the episode, he conducted a workshop for children in order to teach them how to remain alert. All parents need to conduct such a workshop for their children after every six months. There was a surprise for Harish as Sridevi had been invited to the show in an attempt to make the day special for him.
There is no law against child sexual abuse in India and Aamir wrote a letter through the show to make an appeal to the government for passing a bill against child sexual abuse and Sridevi was the first one to sign the letter.