Abuse of Power – II

Torn between writing about OTHER side of Ghetu’s coin and a post on OPTIMAL use of SM. Just hope I’m not going to hotchpotch as I set about writing both in one sitting.

Ghetu’s comment on the other side of the coin had me ponder. Yes, education has empowered the girl child at least in urban areas – Tier I and II towns and cities and what have you.

BUT, I also know of quite a few girls from so-called small towns like Meerut, Jamshedpur, Chipurpalli and Aska (for those unaware as was I, the last two are in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa in that order) who would give any metro-brought up girl a run for her Scooty!!

Bold and fiery, these girls have moved away from home and (familiar) habitat to make a life for themselves in alien surroundings bereft of familiar faces and fond memories. Most of them haven’t returned home permanently preferring to marry ‘broad-minded” boys they have met either through a matrimonial site or elsewhere, while some others have continued to pursue their career, interests, freedom and whatever they choose to do.

So what does it tell us? Education and Financial Freedom empowers women and makes them independent. Unfortunately in a few cases, such as those Ghetu inferred to: this also leads to Aggressive feminism when chivalry is misconstrued and a Helping Hand ripped off. Thankfully, these are but a few cases. Women do have a fine sense of balance, what say?!!

And what about those instances when there is ABUSE of POWER. At times when you are having to stay back at work or college or tuitions much later than the usual time. Felt wary asking yourself why?

  1. Ever felt wary at having to deal with a superior or peer who was lil’ too familiar for comfort?
  2. Who probably leaned into you or on to you on the pretext of showing a diagram or explain a presentation better?
  3. Who made personal remarks about you, your sense of dressing or the beard you sport?
  4. Who insinuated that you were an object to be leched at and not work/study?
  5. Whose gaze started with your boobs and ended there?
  6. Who prompted you to keep books as a clothing accessory?
  7. Who gave you a sinking feeling in the stomach at the mere thought or sight of him/her?
  8. Who did not know and refused to understand NO meant NO, and was not an invitation to repeat innuendos for dinners, lunches, breakfasts, anything at all!!!!!

Worse, I thought such type of men; yes they are a TYPE – the slug type- you find in dark, smelly corners existed and I personally did not have any in my circle, until someone decided to ‘fess up. Unrequited love had for a while turned this person into one of those DARRanak characters who did not understand NO. Fortunately, good sense prevailed and though turned a Gloomy gus the DARR isn’t there anymore!!

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Abuse of Power – I

Never thought I would touch this touchy topic but a few weird (co)incidences over the past few days had me scurrying to my keyboard before I lose the train of thought or drive. SO here it is.

Instance 1: Evening visit to a nearby temple saw me warily glare at the temple priest who caressed the cheeks of all the bonny girl babies, and not the lil’ boys making me wonder why. Mothers smiled on indulgently while the lil’ kids tried hiding behind the dupatta or the palloo. The discomfort in some cases reminded me of the pedophilia scandal that has rocked the papacy.

Instance 2: This TIME article on abuse.

Instance 3: A debate with a good friend/colleague who has a eleven-year old on the parenting riddle. How strict is strict? How can you restrict Internet usage/police kids without alienating them? How much information is too much?

Following these episodes were several other hapchance conversations and incidents that finally led me to this post. Sexual abuse is so common and widespread and yet few dare to voice their thoughts or write about this still-taboo topic. Abuse in any form is vile, but abusing an innocent mind and violating their childhood is the worse form of abuse.

Abuse of Power vs Abuse of Trust. Aren’t they one and the same?! When a person in power abuses or violates you physically/emotionally/psychologically (s)he is abusing your trust. It is as simple as that.

Lunch table conversations with female friends/colleagues broach the topic but when men are around the topic is skirted around. Why? Yet, over the years male buddies/acquaintances have shared instances of abuse so this is one area which is free of gender bias.

Earlier days, a joint family set up to some extent protected kids, and in certain instances propagated abuse. It is always a well-known devil who sullies and loots more than a stranger. Some pointers I have gathered from conversations with various folks:

  • Make the child aware of a good and bad touch
  • Let them know it is OK to speak out, even if against family members
  • HEAR them out before you close your mind or ears to what they say
  • Learn to read their body language and watch out for changes in behaviour
  • Sex education is important
  • Remember to TEACH boys to respect girls and Girls to respect themselves
  • Give them more control

I remember the fight our school authorities had to put up to introduce a module on sex education. Some parents even threatened to pull their kids out. These days though the pervasive nature of the Internet and satellite television means kids are aware of sex long before they reach puberty. Social media is the latest challenge parents are learning to cope with, in particular platforms like Orkut.

A wise friend shared this: Her 14-yr daughter insisted on having an Orkut account because everyone in her class did, and the school-leaving seniors wanted to add her on their ‘Friends’ list. No amount of playing the strict disciplinarian helped. The kid had Internet access at school, which was not having porn-filters or blocked/restricted access. This lady offered to open the Orkut account on condition that the child be aware of online dangers and issued some safeguards:

  1. Do not chat online with strangers
  2. Do not post/share personal information especially phone numbers, photos, residence address, school address and other details
  3. Restricted time on the Net
  4. Do not invite/accept invitations from people you do not know
  5. Finally, to drive home her point she showed/illustrated the lil’ girl with instances of kids becoming prey to pedophiles and how the virtual world can steal your real identity if used by the wrong people.

I came across TULIR during one of my story-hunting expeditions a few years back. Though unrelated to what I was looking for at the time, I have since supported their cause and this is an attempt to make more people aware of and accept that the evil of Sexual Abuse is very much there, and it is up to us to protect our young, and old so Life as it is meant to be can be cherished and LIVED…….. please do share your thoughts.