Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Why Indeed!

It is a very pronounced human feature to make everything ordinary sound extraordinary and add those hyperboles. It is a good thing sometimes, as we might have something that needs special attention; something which gives us a common cause. But we should be cautious and think once to make sure that we are not blindly giving in to this newly found, ancient but acquired instinct.

So many things start with a ‘Why?’ And why are we here? Why is it that CSA needs special attention? I surely hope it isn’t because of the same reason that sex is given so much of importance, for then we would be no better than the perpetrators who are obsessed with it. It would amount to nothing more than indulgence. Why is discussing about child sexual abuse a different thing from discussing about sexual abuse in general?

There are at least two reasons for it being an issue that needs special attention. One reason is the fact that there is a difference when an adult faces, and when a child faces the abuse. It is common knowledge, how difficult it is even for adults to talk about sexual abuse, imagine the state of a young kid who thinks it is partially his/her fault that the abuse even happened. Since the victim has been dependent on his/her parents for most of the significant decisions of his/her life, it finally comes down to how they want to deal with the problem. Most of them would just want to refrain from taking a real decision; they just prefer to brush the dust under the doormat. And much worse are the cases where they themselves are the ones who have committed the act. In both the cases, the child has nowhere to go, and such incidents can have a life long impact on the development of the child’s conscience. The child goes through the insecurity of having no one to protect him/her. His/Her own parents betrayed their trust. So you can imagine the effect of that on their moral development.

The other fact that distinguishes CSA from sexual abuse is that, there hasn’t been much of an attempt on the part of the ‘responsible’ to do so. There has been a general tendency to shy away from the subject, to keep it under wraps. From vote banks to the rigid alignment to being conservative, there are many reasons for it. In context of the Indian society, anything related to sex will always be given a special processing, and more so to something that is even more uncommon. It is true that child sexual abuse is not a part of everyday life. And though it does require special attention, too much of it is given in a negative way, resulting from the kind of thinking mentioned. The comfortable path of believing that there is no problem is always much more preferred, than discussing it with to find a solution. Also, most of the people have their own feelings which they are guilty about, which make them find it difficult to face the issue openly, even though they would certainly want to from the inside.

Now, coming back to the important question and the one most eagerly discussed is the one that enquires about the psychology of the ‘criminal’, it is established that it would amount to doing a crime. The common inclination is always to picture a male being the only candidate for it and it is justified to some extent because that is the usual case. But to be prejudiced that men are the only predators is like giving an escape route and reducing the blame on the female perpetrators (even though they might be few in numbers). Most people when talking about or writing about CSA give the perpetrator a male form. To a great extent, they hide the general concept, and the basic reason.

Apart from others there certainly are two kinds of such person. One of them would be the closest who can be to a savage beast, who thinks only of pleasure; the kind of person who has not a developed enough thinking to think beyond the preliminary ‘yes and no’ in terms of pleasure and pain. There is no reason for them to think of the pain the victim is going to receive, which is why they will never give a second thought before even taking the victim’s life. Then there would be a different kind of person, who will think of his/her intentions being justified (like in the case of pedophiles). To them these are natural urges and hence do not find anything wrong with them. When they find themselves head on with the society which condemns their natural desires, they start justifying the act by saying that the victim provoked them or the victim was 13 going on 30. They just played along with the victim. Some of them have gone to the extent of forming associations all over the world trying to legalize adult-child relationships. As atrocious as it sounds, these people are quite vocal about their desires.

Now, considering the two facets of the problem mentioned, there is a common need of there being a platform, not only in the physical sense but also mentally, where it is possible for people to discuss even this delicate problem in an open way, though again it has to be with purpose of achieving an end. And also considering the kind of person guilty, mentioned later, it becomes even more important for there being more free space for expression and discussion, because it is quite possible that once the things come out in the open, they will be more aware of their own conscience. CSA is a sly crime where the perpetrator always operates in the dark and if we are to treat him/her without some openness we would be pushing them into the dark forever. He might never come out and continue with his/her disposition.

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