Monday, November 28, 2005

My Two Bits

Greatbong, thanks for raising the issue. I've personally helped too many friends get through the trauma of being molested by people in authority ('uncles', teachers) and I have seen for myself how traumatic an experience it can be. Since your post seems to be read by a lot of people of our age group -- I'm assuming quite a lot of them will have something do with children, others' if not their own, someday -- I'll share something which I believe spared me all this as a kid.

My mother took great pains when I was about 11 to explain to me exactly what 'good' and 'bad' touches were, how to recognize where a ‘hug’ crosses the line of being merely affectionate. Most importantly, she told me that if ever I felt threatened, no matter who by, I was to come to her and tell her exactly what happened. And she made it clear that it was never my fault.

She has encouraged me all my life to wear whatever I want, her stipulation being that it must be in good taste. Also, that I learn to dress according to the place where I’ll be going. She strongly discouraged wearing jeans to a puja, but not because it was against tradition. Her argument was that wearing it would perhaps offend/ hurt the elders whose puja it was, and I completely endorse that stand. When I have a puja in my own house (again, not my parents’, but my own home) I shall feel free to wear what I please but in somebody else’s house it is only polite to follow their dress code. Yet those who know me personally cannot possibly argue that I am a conservative dresser…

Why am I rambling at length about my mother’s views? Because we will perhaps be lucky enough to guide our children/ nieces and nephews one day and it helps to explain to them that there are perverted creatures around but that there are ways of dealing with them. At the right age, properly explained, this can be the saving of a childhood and I do not use such a dramatic phrase easily. Too many molestations occur because the children do not realize what is happening early enough to run away. Also, given the reaction of Greatbong’s readers (read the comments for that post), I hope we will also have the strength of mind to offer these children our unconditional support if they ever feel the need to come to us. My point being, folks, it’s up to us, innit? We’ve been through it, firsthand and second, so we will perhaps be the best people to fight it.

4 comments:

GREATBONG said...

Yes one of the valid points that you make is that children often dont know they are being molested. And then of course there is the fear factor----the shame and the doubt---Was I responsible? Am I reading too much into it?

You are lucky to have a mother who talked about issues---too many parents dont. And add to it the fact that sometimes parents are eager to hush things up and not confront the molester (who usually is in a position of authority)----- things become even worse.

Sue said...

Greatbong, I forgot to mention an important fact: my mother was(? is?) a victim. So she knew what it was like, from the trauma of the incident itself to the disblief of elders to the post-op hushing up. The servant who did it wasn't even dismissed.

Srin said...

My mother never warned me. I was molested, and I never really understood what was happening. I have never told my family about this but I'm biding my time.

Sue said...

Srin, I wrote this for you, for peple like you, and my mother, and a very close friend of mine. And the best I can do for you is to endorse what my mother did for me. Maybe one day you'll get the chance to help some other kid out.

Just to point out that I do practise what I preach, I'll tell you what I do. I try to make sure that when I'm out with my (younger) cousins I always know where they are and, more importantly, that everybody around knows that they are not alone. I try to explain to my friends whose mothers could not explain these things to them, that they need not to be victims, and that I will certainly stand by them if they need the help. Most people do.

The worst is when you let it poison your relationships with people who had nothing to do with it. Remember that, too.