Are our children safe anymore?

Though I always read about the perfect way to start the day in Sunday times- positive thoughts, meditation, zeal and enthusiasm which would set the mood for rest of the day, mornings are far from that, especially weekdays. The mad rush of getting ready for office, the constant calls of the cab driver, thought of not seeing my little one Angel for the next 10 hours  are all dancing around in my mind. To make matters worse, I hear the heart wrenching news of a 3 year old who was raped in school last week.
The front page news screams about this, the perpetrator is still on the loose, the child is traumatised, too young to identify the culprit. All she can say about is that "it still hurts" and "uncle". Police are on the lookout for uncle. I shuddered for a moment when I heard it. My first thought was of Angel who is just about to complete 8 months and as eagerly as we watch her grow, indulge in each moment and look forward to the day when she will be a big girl who goes to school, I tremble at the thought of sending her to school when this has become such a common occurrence. In the past one year Bangalore has been witness to so many cases of child abuse,young children most of them below age of 6. As a woman when I think of it my blood boils . As a mother, there is fear written all over my face.
My mother proclaims " I will take up a job in the school where we admit Angel as a student. Being in the field of education it should not be out of ordinary for her. I exclaim " Ma how about homeschooling her?" I know these might not work out,  but it's just the instinctive reactions of mothers for whom their child's safety is of utmost concern.
What's the way out here? How do we ensure our kids, whose safety we entrust to the school authorities for those few hours and in whom we place our trust , are really safe and secure? Who takes the guarantee with pedophiles lurking around in the guise of gym teachers, watchmen, teachers taking classes, it could be anyone. The government has imposed strict restrictions and regulations following public outcry - schools would need to adhere to these- cctv surveillance, thorough background check of staff and many schools have hiked the fees by alarming proportions under the guise of these. But, these crimes continue to happen unabated.
While we shudder on reading about such news in the papers, it becomes the talk of the day and is in media limelight for a few days, a couple of arrests are made and then what? Things get back to normal. We forget and move on with our life. While the sad but bitter truth remains  that we cannot completely avoid such incidents, the way the aftermath is handled is what is important. Making efforts in getting the perpetrators severe punishment which would act as a deterrent to others is something that should be taken up, not just by the family of the victim but by the larger community ( well anyone could be the next victim right) .Also lets not forget the little one who had to go through this gruesome experience and sadly may not even be able to comprehend its severity. The support, love and care of family members is what is required at this stage. Its important to make the child realise that it is not his/her fault at all and help them come out of this incident.A lot of such cases go unreported for fear of shame and reputation in society, it's high time that parents realise that are committing a bigger blunder here by putting the life of so many other innocent children at stake. Let's also not forget the need to educate our children about the good and bad touch and earlier the better. Looking at the age of children who are subject to molestation, it is imperative that we do not delay passing on this information thinking "My child is too young, would she be able to digest any of this? Let me not complicate things for her." It is never too early and after all keeping in mind the child's age and ability to comprehend, the matter should be put forth accordingly. Build that bond of trust where the child would be able to come and tell you about anything and everything without fear.
Child abuse- calls for stringent laws around punishing the accused, a collective effort by the school and parents to work on curbing this and lending our wholehearted and unflinching support to those who go through it. Life does go on, but reliving those dreaded memories is something that should not be a part of anyone's life, let's do our bit in whatever way we can, wherever possible in making this world a safer place for our children 


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