We, the people of India, are indeed proud to be a citizen of the largest democracy of the world.
A democracy that promises through her constitution to all the fellow citizens- justice, – -social, economical and political and fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual.
But when you read a newspaper-any day newspaper- you will find that they are robbed of their human dignity in every minute, every second. They mean the weak and the vulnerable. They include women, marginalised, helpless…..
And they include the children, the softest prey of the vultures……..
And don’t think that the newspaper will tell you the whole story-it is only the tip of the iceberg. The majority of the cases go unreported. In most of the cases the child abuses occur at homes of the victims-committed by relatives. The family structure of Indian homes makes children highly dependant on elders and parents-and they are expected to be obedient to them. Sheer fear of further insult forces the children to keep their mouths shut! The problem spirals with socioeconomic issues prevailing-malnutrition, lack of education, basic hygiene; social neglect etc. the occurrences of child abuse in institutions are seldom given attention by the law enforcers. That’s why it is often gone unreported.
53% of Indian children are abused sexually and 50% of cases the abuser is in trust or with some sort of relationship with the abused-says a 2007 study by the Department of Women and Child Development. But as majority of the cases go unreported-you can easily assume the magnitude of the problem. Sometimes there are ripples in the pond ,when celebrities like Kalki Koechlin digs up the experience of horror from her childhood days-for some days cases reported makes it to the headlines and nobody cares. We again start to relish the news with a cup of hot coffee in the safe haven of our drawing room, until….
Until, one day the same heinous crime is committed to our little angel.
From this viewpoint ‘The Silent Scream’ by Sidddharta Garg is a pious attempt to make us aware about the horrific face of the child abuse in India. The techie turned activist, in his crusade against one of the filthiest crimes of India-gathered the materials of the book. The book is divided into three sections. The first part is a real life story of Harshita- a child from an affluent background. The second part is consisted of ten real life traumatizing experiences of some children-both from the elite and marginalised strata of Indian society. The third part can be categorized as a valuable ready reckoner of child abuse-starting from causes of child abuse of India to the legal tooth against child abuse and self help tips.
Let us take glimpses of the first portion, narrating the scintillating experience of a lovely innocent little kid- Harsitha. Everybody is fond of the ever smiling kid –and she was a brilliant student, too. Her mother was an eminent practicing lawyer, whereas her father was a businessman. Journey seems smooth sailing for the little happy family, until the eve of one republic day-when the lively kid didn’t returned home. The police suspected that it might be a case of kidnapping-
“Abha found the suggestions reasonable and agreed with him for Harshita’s safety was their top –priority. She would do anything to ensure that her daughter was safe. Alok ushered his wife back home, trying to console her through the journey and promising her that no matter how it took, he would surely get their daughter as soon as possible.”
The narrative by the writer is so alive that we can feel the anxiety of the parents, the sobbing of the helpless mother, the rising pulse rate and mounting tension of the father. And again coming to the story once again, the limelight of suspicion was on a neighbour of the family –who had a topsy turvy relation with the girl. Interrogation followed but nothing had surfaced.
The next day the girl was found from the washroom in a state of shamble.
“She won’t be able to stand and move on her own for some time. She would need special care and attention to make this possible again…..Detailed investigation has also revealed that the child has been exploited so violently that it injured her lower spiral cord bone and hence has paralysed her temporarily.”
Mental agony has traumatised the girl to such an extent that her life seemed to have been shattered like glass. The lively, ever smiling girl has transformed overnight.
But who is responsible for spoiling her life?
Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction and one day the startling fact was revealed that is enough to put wildest imagination into shame!
The little girl’s mother has to face the bitter truth of life.
She was courageous enough to fight for her daughter-but not all the daughters of India have brave mothers like Harshita has. it is the story that horrifies us- compels us to think
Is it truly possible?
After the story there is a detailed analysis of the incident from expert’s point of view, providing rare insight into the psychological traits of both the offender and the offended.
The second part is a collection of ten short incidents. Incidents may be short-but the impacts will last through the entire lifespan of the children involved. Even in their sleeps, nightmare of these incidents will haunt them again and again.
The third part has an in-depth analysis of the sexual abuse in India- starting from what are sexual abuse and the types of sexual abuses. Then the writer explores the psychological world of those offenders, and how to identify them. What makes these animals getting encouraged to continue with their heinous crimes?
“A young girl I know has been a victim of this inaction and silence on the part of her parents. She was being teased by a group of boys’ everyday while on her way back home. When she reported this to her parents, they were too afraid to take any action and advised her to change her rooms in order to avoid the eve-teasers. The reason the family provided the girl for their behaviour was that they did not want to invite any trouble by getting themselves involved with these psychopaths.
Is that a solution to the problem? The girl had to pay with her life for her parent’s decision…..”
A simple worded narrative makes our heads hang in shame- make us to stand behind the mirror.
when I first watched the controversial documentary’ India’s Daughter’ and especially the crude remarks by one of the accused and his lawyer’s, I felt that it is the opinion of 95% of Indian male where woman is merely a commodity- a cheaper commodity than the valuable cattle- who can be punished at will, anything can be done with her at will….
And she has the right to remain silent.
somebody has to bell the cat- in a country where women puberty is auctioned in an open forum in the name of the God!
The gang rape of 23 year old student Jyoti Singh Pandey in the night of December 31, 2012 in a moving Delhi bus, shook every Indian woman who bears the fact that sexual harassment is a part of their daily life.
In the backdrop of Nirbhaya rape case,Verma committee, constituted to frame stringent laws against rape, pointed out that women required dignity, and respect and equal space in every sphere of life that our constitution envisaged than laws and bills to bring about equality. Women must have the ability” to insist on total equality in relationships, both with society and the state. “
Let’s not forget that 98% of rapists are from victim’s family.
This timely volume is the need of the hour.
We are eagerly waiting for his next book Maya- which is a factual narrative of a rape survivor.
Read more of the book at