Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A Nightmare

Sometimes you pray that dreams don’t come true. As I did today. I am usually a good-dreamer (?) and wake up mostly feeling positive. This afternoon’s nap however was the most disturbing one for me and I woke up in a cold sweat. It took me a while to realize that it wasn’t real and I was safe.

What did I dream about? Child Sexual Abuse.

I wasn’t there in this nightmare. It was someone I didn’t know I knew. It was a young friendly girl who loves to talk. She laughs with abandon and is carefree. And the world exploits that.

I watch in horror as she is molested, again and again, till she loses herself. And this is done by people she knows and trusts A friend’s parent here, a teacher there….till she doesn’t know whom to trust. Life for her becomes an endless loop, each cycle bringing more pain. I was stuck in that horrible dream- watching her breaking and tearing and screaming for help. And, like in all nightmares, I was confined. I opened my mouth to tell her I am coming but no words escaped. Muted, I watched as she shattered. And then, like grains of sand, she slipped away from their hands and was lost into the wind, never to come back.

Losing her was the un-becoming of me. Why did I let it happen? Why couldn’t I say anything- not one word? But dreams aren’t democratic and you don’t get to choose what you can see, or do.
UNICEF estimates that more than 200 million (including 73 million boys) have been exploited worldwide by the age of 18. That is more than the population of Greece, Italy, France and the UK combined together. And this was statistics taken 10 years ago, now the numbers must have gone through the roof. Not only are they sexually assaulted by people they love but also degraded by institutions through forced involvement in child prostitution and pornography.

The more I read about how sick certain sections of the society has become the more grateful I am for the life I’ve been blessed with. I had a very happy and sheltered childhood. People around me gave me nothing but love, care and security. I didn’t have my innocence brutally shattered before me. I believed in good and I trusted people. But for millions,that’s not the case when they watch their childhood being brutally slaughtered in front of their eyes. We are manufacturing broken people who have unlearned how to trust.
Unfortunately, this isn't just a bad nightmare- this is reality. And we need to stop being mute spectators. It’s high time we move beyond the age old ‘good touch- bad touch’ lessons. Kids deserve to know more in order to protect themselves. If there is anything we need to be paranoid about, it is this. Our children, our brothers and sisters might be victims and we don’t even know it. Imagine the plight of their little minds when they can’t even comprehend what’s happening to them. They might be broken inside and yet blaming themselves for what is happening to them.

We need to do everything in our power to keep them safe, to protect them from the perversion out there and the rest- we leave to God. What more can we do?  

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