Monday, July 5, 2010

Minor on Minor

6/63, Turf View, Hastings was an address I used for the longest time in my life. It's where I grew up for six wonderful years! It's where I made friends, lost friends, fell in love, got my heart broken, learnt how to drive, had my first accident, got my eyebrows done the first time-in short, nearly all my important memories are associated with that one address. A few days back, every single one of those memories was replaced by a horrifying incident that I never in my wildest dreams imagined would happen there! Some of my friends, while innocently hanging out on the rooftop of a building, came across the molested and murdered body of a five year old girl. If you think this is bad, the details that came out in the newspapers the next day will make you miss a heartbeat. Her molesters and murderers were two boys aged 14 and 12. Not only did they end a little girl's life brutally, they also went down and played football with their friends after their work was done.

What turns two boys, barely in their teens, brutal rapists and thoughtless murderers? Who and what do we blame? The parents, for their inability to teach their children the basic values of humanity? The media, for their complete failure in putting across any kind of positive message ? The society and the education system, for forcefully keeping away from children the knowledge that helps them deal with changes in their body and in their environment?

I cannot think of a more unhealthy environment for children to grow up in than the one we have today. Sure our parents did not share much with us either. Sure we secretly watched TV serials that we were told not to. Sure we huddled together secretly in a corner and chuckled over "dirty adult jokes". But not many of us grew sexually deranged. For today's kids its different (An instance can be found in this post). Their minds mature faster than their bodies. They are exposed to television, internet and other technology from their childhood. They are aware of the fact that they live in a world where power is everything. They know sex crimes are on a rise, politicians are corrupt and money gets you friends. In a world like this, it is important that they get proper and continual guidance from their guardians! Children NEED sex education classes. Children NEED to be told about puberty. They NEED to know all of this so their sexual energy is properly channelised. So they don't learn about such things from pornography! It's time to let go of the taboos of the past. You can't protect your children by hiding the truth.

10 comments:

Liz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pause a minute said...

I am so glad that you feel so passionately about this issue Shreya. My blood still runs cold thinking about that little girl. How she must have suffered. If only parents would talk to their children more often - not down to them but with them; if only they would create an enabling and empowering atmosphere at home where children would be encouraged to ask questions, talk about what is bothering them or issues that they do not understand; if only the adults did not either make fun of their kids' worries, or questions, or brush them under the carpet; if only they talked to the children in the context of the world as it is today instead of taking off on 'when we were children...or, in our time...; if only the media would be a little more responsible; if only children were taught how to deal with issues; if only parents would channelize their kids' energies in the right way; if only...if only...

There are so many ways such dreadful incidents can be avoided. The thing is to preempt such situations. I do wish there was more we could do - not only for the girls, to teach them to how to handle such issues/situations, but also for the boys, to teach them that girls must be respected as human beings.

Mart the Fart said...

Your message is so true and I agree that it's a sad fact of modern life. I cartainly do not remember any such activities or crimes when I was growing up although I'm sure it must have happened - somewhere. Perhaps it's just that these terrible events were not reported as widely as they are now. Kids have access to all these terrible sights and thoughts because of modern technologies. But how to control it? Mart

Magali said...

This is terrible. I honestly feel sick.

Liz said...

While we cannot control the media, it is within the power of every, and I mean every adult to help the children around him/her to understand and deal with what they see and hear. It is when we adults go off into ostrich mode that problems arise. Children cannot think for themselves--they can at best process the information that is given to them. That too, we have to know at which level the child is absorbing what he sees/hears/reads. But it can be done. We need to see children as people, as human beings, as potential adults. We need to talk to them in an adult to adult kind of way.

I wish we could start some kind of a cell - minorspeak or minortalk or something where children who cannot deal with or understand issues/problems, or anything at all, can call in and talk to someone who will take them seriously enough to not make fun of them, pooh-pooh them, brush them aside, or worse, behave in a shocked/coy/what-are-you-saying manner...

varsha said...

Everything today gives the message-sex is power, conquest,trophy.
Only mothers and fathers must teach that sex can be connecting,creating and humanizing for both men and women.

dattaabhishek said...

All these come from a deep seated feeling of lonliness during the childhood, wherein parents do not have time for their kids, and they are left to themselves. A little time spent with the kid can help him grow into a much more mature adult.

Lucy Fur said...

@Liz-As a parent and a teacher you have played a very important role in framing the minds of young children.That was very insightful. Thanks.:)

@Mart-How to control it indeed!I can't help but think how each generation grows up to be more vulnerable and less mature.When we grew up (I know I sound 80 but 20 is old enough:D), "spare the rod and spoil the child" was the general idea. Nowadays, the slightest punishment drives kids to depression and in most cases suicide!

Magali-I share your sentiment.

@Varsha-Absolutely. I cannot think of one programme on TV these days which an entire family can watch without a single moment of red faced awkwardness. They're selling sex everywhere!They may be advertising for bikes, or cell phones or perfumes but they'll always have a semi naked woman posted up.

Abhishek-I agree parents not spending enough time leads to problems. But that does not explain such drastic levels of violence does it?

Liz said...

I fully agree with Abhishek Datta. It is a terrible feeling of loneliness, and inadequacy in being able to deal with the myriad things that ping on his little brain (and i include all school students, even those in class 12, for in spite of their trying to posture as adults, they are still children. Because he cannot understand it, and there is no one to help him understand it, he shuts it away in his heart, and mind, and then the trouble starts - it's like a pressure cooker, then, with the pressure of un-understood stuff in his head and worse, his own inexperienced, half-baked interpretation - all children need is to be able to understand what is happening around them. There is no need to filter anything - but just tell them the truth in a compassionate, kind and above all honest way, and the smallest child will be able to cope with the worst thing he sees or hears..believe me. Never, try to hide the truth, and never rush a difficult conversation - put it to them as if you are talking to a person, gently, firmly, kindly and in a manner that he can understand. If he has questions, answer them as best as you can; better still, try and work out the meaning together, as two people - not as an adult to a child; not down to him or at him, but with him...believe me, this works - it takes time, and a lot of energy and innovative thinking, but it works. And, if a parent feels he/she does not have the time for this, then my question would be, then why did you have the kid in the first place - the child did not want to be born...

The second thing i want to mention here is that often, very often, a parent realizing his/her botch-up, blames the teacher...the word that parents have latched onto is 'psychology' - and so while they are fully to blame in many cases, they know that if they say 'my child has been damaged psychologically', the sensation-hungry media will do the rest. But, has the parent stopped to think of the impact this will have on the child? after all, the kid has to go back to the same school - and face the same kids and the same teachers. While the teachers are constantly being counseled about how to handle difficult situations, maybe the parents also need to take a careful look at themselves and their handling of their children. If we don't teach children to handle these difficult situations that arise in school,then how is he going to handle difficult situation that are definitely a part and parcel of adult life? Will he be able to cry 'psychologically harmed', every time he is in a spot?

It's a mess, but it can be sorted out if we as adults just accept some of our responsibility to those youngsters for whose well-being we are clearly directly responsible.

Rahul Sen said...

Traumatic...
Well I dont know what others say but I wish if both those boyz can be hanged to death.