Right or wrong?

There are two reasons why I am writing this:

1. I am still not sure that the term I used in this context was correct or not. I want you to read this and give me your valuable opinion on it. I want you to correct me if I am wrong.

2. People turn a blind eye to such activity. There could be two highly probable reason for this- no one wants to interfere or lack of awareness about the topic. I am going with the
later here, and putting forward the argument that crime happens when you do not pinpoint it for lack of knowledge. That makes the second reason why I am writing, to create awareness.

I have feared that writing about this incident would bring me criticism of reading too much into the incident and over reacting. But, I had to write about this. I let all of you, who reads it, to be the judge and tell me if I am right or wrong in writing about it.

We were a group of 10-12 people at a friend’s birthday party yesterday. There, I called someone a child molester. (That someone was an old school friend, but after yesterday’s episode I am not sure if I can still consider him one.) There were two kids- one boy and a girl, their age not more than 5 years, present in the room. You know how kids are, they come and flock around wherever the adults are. And, it is a common thing for any adult to lovingly strike up a conversation with kids in such scenarios.

Most of us were happily chatting away with each other, when this person (Let’s call him PW) was trying to have a conversation with the little boy. His voice wasn’t stern or anything, he was laughing and holding the boy lovingly by his wrist. The boy was smiling too, but trying to free himself and flee, which is quite normal for kids to do. Although PW was sitting in front of me, it took me some time to realize what he was whispering to the kid. PW was asking him if he has a penis, and to show him if he has one. Before I could interrupt, the kid was successful in freeing himself and ran out of the room. PW started chatting with someone else. But, my mind kept processing what just happened.

After a while, a friend of mine from school came and took the vacant seat in front of me. That’s when I noticed that PW wasn’t in the room. I knew the kids were playing outside, because one could hear thier voices coming from the balcony. My friend’s sitting position was perfect for a clear view of the balcony. So, I asked him if PW was outside? His affirmative response bothered me. I excused myself and went out to check what was going on. PW was still busy convincing the little boy for sneak peek of his penis. When the kid refused, PW teased the boy saying, “you are a girl, you don’t have one”. It is important to clarify here that kid wasn’t refusing verbally. He was refusing through his body language. A classic scenario of being uncomfortable and yet helpless. I should’ve asked PW there and then, but I couldn’t. There were few other people too, and I didn’t want to create a scene of any kind. I came inside- angry and disturbed.

Soon after, someone came in laughing and said out loud that the kid was trying to touch or had touched PW’s genitals. A few people thought it was hilarious. I sat there quietly, observing things and reactions. But, all I could think of was how kids copy us. How they observe adults and imitate their behaviour. I was thinking how easily PW taught that kid that trying to see/touch someone’s genitals is normal and funny. All in good humour, you see.

After that ‘tit-for-tat’ episode, when half of the people had left the room, PW came in and I accused him of being a child molester. A few others were present. I don’t know if they heard anything, because no body said a word. PW brushed aside my remark, with a ‘stop-bullshitting’ look on his face. But, I went on to tell him how his tiny gross behaviour could affect the child. How it could damage a child’s psychology forever. PW didn’t buy any of my reasoning. He didn’t even feel he was wrong. No one else came to my rescue and told him he was not right in his conduct.

By definition child molester is a strong term. It means one who sexually abuses a child, also called child molestation. And, child abuse is an activity which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. There is no exhaustive definition for child sexual abuse. It includes a wide range of activities, all of which can be divided into touching and non touching activities. Touching activities include touching a child’s private parts, asking a child to touch an adult’s private parts, forced intercourse or oral intercourse with a child, encouraging a child to play sexual games. Non-touching activities include showing pornography to a child, intentionally exposing adult’s genitals in front of a child, inappropriately asking a child to undress or expose his/her genitals etc. Sexual abuse/molestation whether intentional or unintentional could cause irreparable damage to a child. It can cause them depression, anxiety, long term psychological trauma, stress, physical injury, mental disturbance, urge to withdraw from school and society, inability to lead a healthy adult life and many more. Abuse can leave imprints in a child’s brain for ever, and shatter them permanently.

I know, PW’s behaviour was not deliberate. He wasn’t seeking any pleasure from it. But, I felt his behaviour had the propensity to be harmful to the kid. Children are delicate. We can never understand what goes into their mind fully. It is one thing to show them your love and affection, and another thing to impose yourself on them unintentionally. Interacting with kids maybe a small thing for the adults. We may not remember the interaction as vividly as a kid would. That’s why we should be cautious. We never know how our words and actions would affect them. We should know that there exists a fine line between interacting with a kid and making them uncomfortable. No kid would tell us we are making them uncomfortable, even if we did. Because, they don’t know how to react in such scenarios. They are kids, it takes them a long time to realize that. But that shouldn’t be the defence for our behaviour. Our actions may cause irreparable damage to a kid, we must understand that and act accordingly. After all, a harm, however unintentional is still a harm.

Stubbornly optimistic, a listener of the universe and follower of my dreams. Coffee, smell of new books, long walks, old melodies, good sense of humour, and poetry light me up. I want to be happy when I grow up.

13 Replies to “Right or wrong?”

  1. Sorry if I turn out to be rude or harsh. Seeing news related to such things everyday has increased my hatred to such people..
    I’ll go with the first reason of people going blind is they don’t want to interfere. More of their thought is how does it matter to us.leave it.noone wants to raise voice due to multiple reasons.
    Coming on this topic I think u gave the right term. I appreciate u raised ur voice against this that very moment.
    Such an activity with a child actually has the strength of killing child’s innocence. It directly impacts them varying from less impact to high impact depending on the abuse done to the child. Thing is child doesn’t even realize what is happening and realize later on when the damage has already been done.
    Such ppl should be stopped or punished so that they don’t repeat this and other ppl also don’t think about such things.
    Such behavior may later results into deep ugly activities which we hear daily in news.

    1. Not rude at all. It’s time we call a spade a spade.
      I hope everyone learns to raise their voices. If this piece gives that courage to even one person, I will be satisfied.
      Thank you for reading. And, thank you for your support. People like you ensures my hope that someday our society will be compassionate.

  2. Khimpi, this read gave me chills down my spine and blood in my head. This guy should be put behind bars. I don’t know why you are even doubting yourself. It is by all means child molestation. The fact that he followed the kid outside to convince him to show him his genitals clarifies that he seeks pleasure out of it. It’s a disgrace that the child’s parents did not slap this PW. I definitely would have!

    1. I called him out. I should have been more loud and clear. But, I was in shock. I never expected an ex classmate would indulge in these activities. When I came home, I was thinking that it’s a shame to share the same table as someone like him. I was thinking of never meeting him again, but then I thought that wouldn’t solve the problem. Speaking up and pointing out what’s wrong will.

  3. Khimpi, this read sent chills down my spine and blood to my head. This guy should be put behind bars. I don’t know why you are even doubting yourself. It is by all means child molestation. The fact that he followed the kid outside to convince him to show him his genitals clarifies that he seeks pleasure out of it. It’s a disgrace that the child’s parents did not slap this PW. I definitely would have!

  4. PW is wrong in his conduct…when I was studying in class 1 or 2 my uncle used to pull my pants in front of every one so by imitating uncle I pulled the pant of a brother age about 15 in front of every one casually…after that incident he(brother) ran away and didn’t show his face for a month…

    1. Not your fault. You just imitated what looked normal to you. Someone should have gave that uncle a lesson. Privacy is something to be taught at a very early stage. I hope you apologize to your brother.
      There are many PWs roaming around in our society that too in broad daylight. Lack of knowledge and awareness in this regard maybe make them do such things, but we must speak up. Even if it costs us the friendship. Next time, speak up.

  5. You were absolutely right, and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s high time people stop dismissing these things as “fun”. I admire your courage at calling him out. He is exactly what you called him: a child molester.

    1. It’s difficult to raise your voice when nobody else supports you. But, that’s when we mostly should. I wrote this with the hope that everyone present there at the party reads this and realises that it was a big deal.
      Thank you for your support.

  6. Its just disturbing to see what people do for their sense of enjoyment

    1. It’s hard to read people these days.

  7. You have been spot on. You did a courageous thing. Never ever have an iota of self-doubt.

    1. Thank you, Chirag. I appreciate your support.

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