For the last one week the case of a child who was allegedly raped multiple times by a donor in an orphanage located in Hyderabad has bothered me and I have extensively used the social media platforms to express my pain and anger.
This morning the child died.
And I am wondering whether she is in a better place now?
I am constantly disturbed by the apathy the community at large has about the rights of children. Somehow, they are not a priority. Most think that in any case in a few years they will become adults so why bother. Life just does not matter!
And that is why perhaps it absolutely does not make any big headlines that India is producing the highest content of child sexually abusive material in the world. This is as per the report of NICMEC a validated American organization that is involved in monitoring and reporting the online child sexually abusive material. Close to 2 million contents were reported from India which is over 11% of the total reports from all over the world.
Why is this not bothering us? Why are we not shaken to know that thousands of our children are being sexually exploited and raped?
While the suicide of an actor, daily investigation of smuggling case, political horse-trading and so many other ‘very important’ issues including making or breaking of religious structures get supreme importance in both electronic and print media…and the journalists are scrambling to report it day in and day out… 9pm channels are filled with heated debates….a child dying of a systemic failure, a child being raped by those who pledged to protect her…a child being rejected by her family and the system just does not bother us!
Ohhh…I am sorry we do react…and we react strongly…. using our social media platforms…. press meets…candle lights…. protest marches….in selective cases that makes some sense to our needs.
So what are the cases that makes sense to us….we love brutality….so any brutal case will be a great priority, we are scared if it happens in our neighborhood or to somebody who belong to our own social strata or somebody we can economically relate to…so anybody belonging to our social strata we will start screaming our protests….we love political position so anything that relates to our vote bank is something we will definitely jump around.
Interestingly there are political leaders in Hyderabad who will raise their voice to the highest pitch when a child is being raped in Jammu/Kashmir but they maintain perfect silence when a child is being raped just next door in Hyderabad.
Our state and system are also equally selective. Any case that gathers huge media momentum and political mileage, that case definitely will be fast tracked and not just compensation but all kind of financial support will be offered.
I am not saying that those cases don’t deserve that support, what I am saying is that every child/girl/woman who is sexually assaulted should also get equal access to all that support.
After years of working on the issue of sex crime against children and providing a safe haven for hundreds of such children who face threat perception from their perpetrators, what I see is over 70% of cases are pending for last 4 years. Hardly 30% of the children have received small amounts of interim relief fund from the District Administration. And that too only when we have constituted a team whose only job is to follow up and ensure papers move. Not a single child got relief as a matter of right.
I am angry about what is becoming of us….I am angry that we collectively fail as humanity….I am angry that we as a society feel helpless about our own inadequacies…I am angry that the State response most often is only reactionary and does not put in place systemic processes that ensures equal access to justice for all…I am angry that we tolerate all this….I am angry that this incident will bother some of us but in a few seconds life will move with no remnants in our memory till the next incident happens…
I want to break our hypocrisy…I want to break our pseudo stands…I want to break the power mongers whose political position is the only real thing for them….and a child’s life matters only when it suits them.
I know I am raving and ranting.
But all I want to reiterate- your inaction, your silence, your apathy, your self-centeredness and your indifference is not going to break my spirit.
I will continue to fight, continue to flag these issues even if it makes me unpopular, continue to support those violated with a safe space and continue to be the voice of the voiceless…And you can rest assured that there will be many more like me here & elsewhere who will be bearing this torch now and for years to come…till every human being is respected with dignity and systems become really functional for all.