CSA: The Invisible Demon around Us – Sunayana Roy
When Jaya Menon*’s daughter, then 12, ran around their apartment complexes in Hyderabad with the various gangs of children, Jaya made it a point to call out to her from the windows every half an hour. Her daughter was told to stick to the group and come home for her mother’s permission before entering any flat. Even if it was only to drink water or collect a friend, Jaya’s daughter was to stand outside in the hallway. Now an adult, Jaya’s daughter doesn’t have very clear memories of these strict rules but she does remember that her mother or some trusted adult was never more than a shout away. Unobtrusive, but always present.
What Jaya feared was what many mothers fear – Child Sexual Abuse (CSA). She had been abused herself by a male family member when she was nine, and didn’t get much support when she tried to tell her mother about it. The memories had lingered and coloured her outlook on life. As her daughter grew, she tried to balance her desire to allow her child the independence she wanted with the protection that Jaya knew she needed. Other adults found Jaya’s behaviour overprotective but her husband Amit* who knew her story, supported and encouraged her.