A Concluding Message from the CSAAM Team
And April is the Cruellest month (with apologies to T S Eliot)
It has been one roller coaster of a month. Something we had never anticipated when we started out this effort to bring the taboo topic of Child Sexual Abuse out of the closet and out in the open, a bid we thought, which would provoke discussion and debate and make some parents realise that they need to be careful. About who their children are with, what they do, to keep an eye open for any signs of probable CSA.
What we weren’t prepared for was the deluge of support. From NGOs working in this field. RAHI, Arpan, TULIR, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. By supporting us you endorsed our little effort to get a public debate raging on this issue. Then we had the experts who came in and gave us their time for twitter chats which encouraged people to ask questions. Onir, the director of I AM which has CSA as one of the issues in the film, Sanjay Suri who played the role of the adult survivor of CSA, Anuja Gupta of RAHI who brought in the NGO perspective, Harish Iyer, a CSA survivor who dispelled the myth that only girls are vulnerable, Dilnavaz Bamboat, Therapist for Sexually Abused Children who provided answers to concerned parents and survivors, Smriti Kaul from Koshishh who gave us the much needed legal perspective, Chandni Parekh, social psychologist and Suchismita Bose of The Foundation, for taking questions on CSA and how the NGO intervene and work with CSA victims and survivors.
The media, Midday in Mumbai (Sachin Kalbag, god bless you), Mint Lounge (Priya Ramani, honoured) DNA Bangalore (Shrabonti Bagchi, thank you), Times Life (Sarita Tanwar, god bless you), Bangalore Mirror (Sahana Vig, thank you), The Alternative (Aarti and team, thanks for your brilliant articles), South Asian Parent and Bubble Wrapped, thank you all for adding your voices to ours.
Blogadda, thank you for partnering with us, and taking our posts out to the blogosphere.
And for each and everyone of you, who wrote in with your stories, wrote posts on the issue, took time out to comment on our blog, who retweeted our tweets, who listened to us with a patient ear, thank you. A fact that we have about 200 posts and 1000 comments in a month does speak something
And finally, a big thank you to all the trolls who sent us kiddie porn, who accused us of running a child pornography racket, who insulted us and our children. Thanks to your reactions, we were sure we were doing something that was making a difference, in whatever small way it could.
Now, at the end of April, we close this initiative, with the peace of mind that comes from knowing, that yes, we have done our bit, we have raised our voice, and we hope we have empowered parents and survivors to take this menace head on.
At the end of April, all I have is a sense of release, from the demons within, from the sense of hopelessness that my little girl self still carried within me, the feeling of hurt and betrayal I have lived with. At the end of April, I have realised that I am not alone. There are millions out there, like me, and everyone has a story to tell. At the end of April, I know, I will try to be a more alert and less trusting parent than my own, god bless them. I hope the month of April has been as cathartic for you too.
If I say that last one month has been the toughest yet the most fulfilling month I had in quite some time I will not be exaggerating. I went from being depressed when the stories started pouring in to a stage where anger started building up to a stage where I thought I became numb and nothing could move me anymore to finally empowerment and seeing the side which experts showed me.
Its been a month I have learnt that I am not alone, that I was not at fault never was, Its been a month where I have realised that no amount of watching over kids can be excess, Its been a month where I have learnt a lot more about parenting and CSA and that when I thought I knew quite a bit before, Its been a month where I have pledged to myself that I will never let my child down God forbid if such a situation arise. In the past month I have finally managed to let go of the guilt that I was carrying on my shoulders since I was a little girl of 6, hope its healed you too.
I spent the first fortnight of April getting more and more upset as the CSA survivor accounts poured in. Every time I thought I’d read the worst I could, something even more unsettling reached us. At one point though, the courage and strength of purpose of all these ‘victims’ shone stronger than their pain. And that’s when each new account became to me a description of the person’s strength, by detailing what they had overcome.
I’ve never suffered child sexual abuse myself but people who mean the world to me have. So thank you, all of you, for helping me fight my own demons.
Subha Raj aka Boo
As a child when I was battling with my secrets, I remember reading an article on Child Sexual Abuse in some magazine. I think I was around 15. The article was the first step in many which helped in my self-healing process. I can now confidently say that I’ve found my closure after my involvement with the CSAAM initiative for the past one month. It has taken me almost 20 years but I am at a place where I have found peace. With each survivor story, I ve grown stronger. With each expert article, I ve become more informed. With each post related to CSA, I ve drawn support. With each comment, I felt that we have made a difference. In Mon and Iya, I have found friends. With Kiran and Sue, it has restrengthened our sisterhood. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. You have made a difference in me too.
Iya Bhatia Malhotra
This month of April will go down in my memories as one of the most poignant, traumatic and distressing months of the year. But at the same time it will also remain as one of the most satisfying and fulfilling one. When I joined this awareness drive I had some idea what I was getting into. But the experience has been far more physically and emotionally straining than I had perceived. This one month has made me a stronger and a more determined individual. And has given me a hope that yes we can make a difference. Maybe our children will now be safer than before, maybe the parents will be more informed and cautious. Maybe this horrid reality will soon be a thing of past. Maybe..