No matter how much I try to believe that whatever happened to me as a kid will never happen to my little girl, the world we live in won’t let me believe it. Every single day I see news pieces about how little girls were sexually abused, sometimes murdered, by predators – relatives, neighbours, family friends, teachers, school staff and total strangers. I can be a normal mother and not be overprotective of my daughter. I can make sure that I don’t leave her alone with anyone other than her father and her grandparents. (Thank God that I have at least that surety when there are a lot of young girls who are at danger with their own father or grandfather.) I can tell her about ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ and the importance of staying alert. I can tell her how it is important and okay for her to tell us anything, no matter how bad it is.
But what is the use when I know that as a 3 or 4 year old little one, I will have to leave her at school with total strangers? With the number of cases of sexual abuse that kids go through at school at an all-time rise, how the hell am I or any other mother supposed to be at peace until our girls are back home and we know for sure that they are okay? Day after day of this fear is enough to drive the sanest of people insane. At 3 or 4 or even 10 years, how are our little ones going to protect themselves from people who are supposed to keep them safe just like parents would?
Hari was telling me now that we need to stay positive. But I couldn’t help but wonder – staying positive and hoping nothing bad would happen – is that how it really should be? Accidents are not in our control and we can only hope that our little ones don’t get into one. Sickness is not in our control and we can only hope that our little ones don’t go through any major sickness. But sexual abuse? Do I “hope” that while my baby girl is away at school, she doesn’t fall prey to sexual predators there? Do I “hope” that while I am not with her, my baby girl wouldn’t have anyone violating her body or hurting her?
Really? Is my baby girl’s safety from sexual attacks clinging on a single uncertain, weak word – HOPE? All those parents whose kids have been attacked might also have relied on this one word – Hope – that it will never to happen to “us and ours”, like everything else – until it did happen to their baby. Knowing that, seeing that, reading about that, how am I ever going to find solace in the word “hope”? For me, the fact that we are in a world where safety of our kids is nothing but a hope makes it all the more hopeless. But like everyone else, I don’t have an option either. I can only send her out to school as if I am gambling with luck and wait in muted fear for her to come back safe and sound.
Also published on Medium.