CSA Survivor Story – 9.

In the year 1964-65, I and my parents were staying at Safderjung Enclave, New Delhi in a Government accommodation allotted to my Father. He was working as a Civil Engineer with CPWD. I was 7-8 years old. At that point my parents were very close to my mother’s cousin and her family. Sudesh, (my mother’s cousin) and her husband Satpal, used to visit us often. It so happened that one day Satpal had come for a visit and my parents had to go somewhere where I could not accompany them. They requested Satpal to babysit me in their absence. He agreed readily, and they left me with him in his care. They thought this was a very comfortable arrangement, not realizing that their child could be a victim of child abuse in their absence.

I, of course did not realize this at that tender age. The memories were hazy but I had a fair recollection that in my parents’ absence Satpal had told me that he would like to introduce me to a very good toy and then exposed his private parts to me. Thankfully he did not do anything to me. Also thankfully, this was a one-time incident.Soon after this, my father was posted to Simla and we moved there. At some point I told him (as I was closer to my father than my mother) about this incident. He was obviously really surprised and disgusted by the whole thing and both my parents could never forgive themselves for doing so.

This left an impression on my mind and when God blessed me with two daughters I taught them from the beginning not to trust anyone, not even their own father. I made it a point not to leave them alone with any servant. It was easier for me to do so as I was staying in a joint family with my in-laws. But unfortunately my elder daughter had a brush with child abuse in a household full of people.

This incident took place one afternoon when my mother-in-law and my elder daughter were taking a siesta. My daughter woke up earlier from her nap, while my mother-in-law was still sleeping. She got up from the bed and went into the other room to play. A young boy of 15-16 years who was our servant at that time joined her and told her that he would give her 5 Rupees if she would take off her panty. My daughter quickly ran from that room to my mother-in-law. She woke her up and told her about this. I was at work. My mother-in-law called me and narrated the whole incident to me. We threw him out of the house immediately after giving him a little money to meet with his travel fare.

I, yet have to share another incident with you. This time the victim of child abuse was my younger daughter. This took place about seven years back when she was 14 years old. I had separated from my husband and was now staying in Gurgaon, Haryana, with my mother and my brother along with my two daughters. One afternoon in the summer of 2004, she was sleeping in her room, when she became aware in a semi conscious state that someone was stroking/smoothing her hair. She opened her eyes to shockingly realize that it was our young servant of 13-14 years age who was doing it. She got up at once and told my mother who was at home but in another room. We of course threw him out after this.

It is not only girls who are at a risk of being a victim of child abuse. In their growing years, boys are equally vulnerable to this demon. For hiring books and comics for reading, my younger brother as a child used to visit a small library in the neighborhood market of Rajouri Garden, New Delhi. The handicapped owner of the shop who was confined to a wheel chair, used to ask young visitors of his shop to indulge in all sorts of sex related activities with him. On being approached, my brother ran away from there and never went back. He shared this with me as we were very close.

The above narrations are narrow escapes but child abuse is something which should not to be taken lightly. It can leave a lifelong mark on a child’s personality. I know it is very difficult for today’s parents to protect their children from this devil, as they are able to spend less and less time with them. ‘BEWARE’ is all I can say. Children need to be guarded nonstop as they are under constant threat of ‘CHILD ABUSE’ from their close relatives, friends, teachers, servants and almost anybody around them ……

– Sudha Sharma