Thursday, October 29, 2009

Can We Hear The Sobs Of Tiny Voices?

October is the Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and pretty much every heart wrenching, and very touching post I have read so far, is about violence against adult women, by their husbands and in-laws. The posts by IHM, Smitha and Solilo are the ones I would recommend for reading. Abuse of women, is the most obvious kind of thing that comes to mind, when we talk of domestic violence today, a wife being beaten, harassed and even marital rape. Personally, I have very little experience with this kind of violence, strange but true, I have no friends, who are harassed, except the usual tug of war, all Indian women have with in-laws, none of my maids were abused at home, fortunately both had rather loving husbands. I have only heard incidents about people who are known to someone, who know someone I know, or through the media. I would want however to stress on a different kind of domestic violence which is very prevalent in India, but very very little attention is paid to it, and in more ways than one it is a lot worse than wife beating.

It is violence, and aggression against children in homes. It happens more commonly than we are ready to accept or even acknowledge, but the situation is scarier than most of us can fathom. Bad childhood, is a very simple and general term used to describe this situation, and push it under the carpet, in a land where parents are treated like Gods, no matter how they are. When its a woman being abused, there is a possibility of her receiving support from her parental home, but a child has no where to hide and nowhere to run, from his own parents. Nowhere at all. Imagine a five year old being beaten mercilessly by his own parents in the confines of his own home, which should be his sanctuary, the place where he should feel the most loved and safe. Where does this child go looking for help, how does he even know he should get out, and how will he survive if he does? When I saw this video on IHM's post, the first thought that came to my mind is, would the man have done the same thing had the abuser been abusing his child instead of his wife? How commonly do we see parents hitting, and verbally abusing children publicly, and how often are we shocked by it, the way we are with violence against women? Rarely ever, then who would even bother with what happens behind closed doors. A child is too shamed and scared, and knows too little to understand that what is being done to him is wrong, unjust. And a child who grows up in such an environment is unlikely to realise it either, because of conditioning.

Image Courtsey -

Its a myth that such abuse lies only in the lower strata of the society, it exists everywhere. I have bonded with many a blog friend, simply because we share a common history of childhood abuse, and somehow that has turned us into similar people in some ways. Two of my closest friends from the blog world, have faced abuse all through their childhood, and we can talk to each other openly, without feeling any guilt, like we can't with anyone else. The gory details are never put up on the blog, or discussed openly and people who have been fortunate enough to have nice parents, cannot really understand, what can possibly justify a person bad-mouthing her own parents. You have to live it, to know the pain, to understand what cannot be explained in words. These are people who are well educated themselves and belong to affluent, educated families. At five where could we have escaped? From our own parents? When I had finally had enough, and realised that I could be loved and appreciated, and left my parental home for good and married the DH, a relative I had newly acquired, questioned me about my actions, told me that people are abused much worse, even sexually by their parents, what then, have I to complain about? It is tough enough to take a stance, but then to be questioned, and to need to defend yourself for having escaped abuse is not easy either.

And even then we are never completely free of our parents, while a spouse can possibly be replaced, parents cannot. And we do tend to keep turning back, hoping for something that never really existed, longing for something we never really had. And I cannot help but wonder why, do we keep going back to the people who wronged us, and who will never accept that they have done so. And I finally found an answer to that in an article Solilo pointed out to me, which finally gave words to my vague beliefs. It says

Research on early attachment, both in humans and in nonhuman primates, shows that we are hard-wired for bonding — even to those who aren’t very nice to us.

No wonder then that even the abused children and spouses continue to be affectionate towards the abuser. An abused child is unable to completely cut ties off with the parents without either feeling guilty, or being made to feel as such by people, such is our social conditioning. A wronged child feels guilty to even say aloud, what he knows and feels is wrong.

There are people who feel that physically intimidating children is an important tool for disciplining them. The very line of thought is outrageous. How can violence, and physical aggression be used against a child? I know of girls being beaten black and blue by leather belts, for wearing clothes the parents considered inappropriate, boys who were not fed for days, because they failed an exam, children being beaten, till their tears dry up and they hiccup for hours, because they said something in the presence of outsiders that they should not have. Why is the Indian society NOT outraged by these acts of domestic violence, why do children have no rights in our country? Many developed countries, explain their rights to children, have strict rules against verbal or physical abuse of children, India is far away from even acknowledging the existence of this issue. No one raises a voice, or thinks its even slightly out of place, if parents are abusive. It is time we started nipping the problem in the bud, if we wish to eliminate domestic violence entirely.

While not even for a moment can I say domestic violence against women is any less atrocious, but its violence against children that I think causes much deeper harm, and leads to creating an unhappy, unstable, prone to violence, self-respect lacking or a human deficient in many other ways. Scars in the heart and mind which never heal, which never leave.

Stop Violence Against Children. They Are People In Their Own Right.
Image Courtsey -

An old post, very relevant to this topic, is what I dug up, and am linking here, for anyone who wishes to read.


Anonymous said...

I agree, a lot of parents don't just beat and lock up their children themselves, but also welcome the idea of he school doing the same! And most of will not give a second look to a child being beaten - even by the roadside, I have done it and was told very arrogantly that the person with the stick in his hand was the boy's father. And that gave him the right to terrorise the child.

Indians also love to say that kids in the West are indisciplined (are they?) because parents can't beat them, if they as much lay a finger on the child, the child would call 911. We are so convinced and closed minded about discipline and parenting!

hitch writer said...

Fortunately Even I have come across very lil domestic violence... by husbands against their wives... !but I really feel on this topic.. against children... especially parents who lift their hands.. !!

I have a simple belief.. if you lift ur hand at your lil kid... you lost patience... and its not his fault if you cant control ur impulses... !!!

there is always a way...

I know of one friend's daughter being really harrassed by her mother because of her silly competition mind.. the dad didnt study and she wants her daughter to excel in studies ... I have tried hinting a lot to her.. I always tell my friend to stop her being beaten... I dont know how I can stop her mom from beating her for studies... etc... she just wants her kid to come first in everything which is not possible...

Smitha said...

I agree with you completely GM! I have been lucky with my parents that I have had the most supportive and loving parents anybody can wish for - but I know somebody who has had a horrible experience with parents. You are right - it happens in all strata of society - irrespective of class or any such dividers.

Parents think that they 'own' the child and are justified in doing anything to the child - I cannot understand how anybody can justify abuse of a child by parents. If this is not the worst sort of bullying - then I don't know what is! There are some really touching and disturbing campaigns that NSPCC does here. I am nt able to link them here - but it just shows how cruel parents can be to children!

Very hard hatting post, GM - I do hope that some parents learn from this!

Anonymous said...

Hitchwriter I have also found most parents beat children for studies and better scores! I think they lose their patience, they aren't really suited for teaching ... and like you said it only shows that they have lost control.

Reflections said...

A thinking post really GM. Beating a wife can be termed as physical harassment but nobody blinks an eye when a helpless child is being beaten up.
Psych babler had put up a post on this & posted some graphic was heartbreaking.

D said...

The worst part of domestic violence against children is, as you pointed out, that the society expects the children to still love their parents despite everything. Parents don't always know what's best for their children, not all of them at least. And they can be selfish too.

Pixie said...

Gosh! This was a hard hitting post which made me sit up and think!

You are very much right, of course! Violence against children is the worst crime!
A child cannot even protect itself nor can he/she talk about it with anyone... :\
Sad, but, true, in our society, the parents are never questioned when they beat up a child mercilessly...

Deeps said...

Have linked your post to mine. I had much to say about DV,so chose to bring out a post in itself.

Thank you for this relevant post.

Passionate Goof said...

IHM - Imagine the horror of such childhoods, and the abuse is not even physical at times, and the psychological impact is just terrible.

Hitchy - I completely and totally agree. its the failure of the parents, when they hit the child.

Smitha - Touchwood! For parents like yours. And such parents are the ones responsible for the horrible people their children turn out to be.

Reflections - Oh! Is it? give me the link na!

Pixie - Exactly.

Deeps - I read it Deeps, amazing lil daughter you have.

Solilo said...

GM, A pertinent post and I concur with the comments above mine.

Parents are so busy shouting and picking on each other that they forget about children at home. Then the anger extends to those tiny things.

Then when the kids grow up, they are preached to respect very same parents because now they are old. Sick!

Irresponsible parents deserve to learn at some point in their life.

shail said...

"You have to live it, to know the pain, to understand what cannot be explained in words."

I feel so too.

I have wondered too why such children keep going back.

I would request you to read my post "The Rejection"

Monika said...

kudos a brilliant post goofy... i am so with u voilence against children is the worst crime

I strongly believe in the fact that if u ever hit a child its ur fault not his... no human being deserves to be beaten specially a child

brilliant post

Deeps said...

Congratulations on the blogadda pic,PG! The post deserved it!

Passionate Goof said...

Solilo - "Then when the kids grow up, they are preached to respect very same parents because now they are old. Sick! " Not only do the parents expect it, the entire society judges you based on whether you do it or not.
Thanks for the recommendation to blogadda. :)

Shail - You know why we go back, because of many things like social conditioning, social pressures, and at the end of the day, the want not to do something wrong ourselves.

Monika - Thanks Mon. It is infact the inability of parents to take care of children, when they abuse them.
Thanks for the recommendation to blogadda. :)

Deeps - Thank you so very very much Deeps. :)

Unknown said...

Plan India is a child-centered development organization that aims to promote Child Rights and improve the quality of life of vulnerable children. Plan India promotes violence against children through a campaign called Learn Without Fear.
Recently an Online Petition has been developed which will be submitted to the Indian PM for recommendation on the subject.

Indian in NZ said...

"An abused child is unable to completely cut ties off with the parents without either feeling guilty, or being made to feel as such by people, such is our social conditioning. A wronged child feels guilty to even say aloud, what he knows and feels is wrong."- this sums up how I feel.

People are quick to judge when someone breaks ties with one or both the parents. It hurts more when they start blaming you and forcing you to 'kiss and make-up' after believing the stories that the parent has been telling them. The child looks really bad while the parent cunningly gets the sympathy in some cases. People still beleive that there can be 'bad children' but there can never be 'bad parents/mothers/fathers'.

Great post.