This happened in 1968.I had been appointed as Case Worker at Children's Home for Girls run by the Directorate of Social Welfare at Tihar Jail campus Delhi, after I passed out from Delhi School Of Social Work.As the name connotes,it housed girls in need of shelter.
There must have been innumerable girls over there but I can recollect only one.Let me call her Komal (delicate),for she was daintiness personified.What drew my attention to her was her innocent face,body structure and also her nature.A fair pretty round face which still comes to my mind.She was barely 13-14 yrs of age,very quiet and reserved.I did not see her mingling with other girls.But i was puzzled by her physique--she was plump in an odd way.I thought perhaps her puppy fat was still lingering on and dismissed the matter.
After a few days i was asked to take Komal to a hospital for her check-up.I took out her case file to familiarize myself with her problem and what I read there took my breath away.She belonged to another city.There she had a friend whose father ran a shop in front of their home.One day she went to their house and asked the fellow if her friend was home.He confirmed she was and asked her to go in.The poor mite did not suspect what awaited her.As she went in that scoundrel closed the shop and went in.Obviously no one was home.You can guess what followed.
After this fiendish act he threatened her to keep quiet or else he would kill her family.The poor thing kept quiet.She had barely taken the first step on the journey from childhood to woman-hood.For a few months her mother had no cause to suspect that anything was amiss and when the whole thing tumbled out it was too late for an abortion.So she was sent to this Home for her delivery.
Soon after our visit to the hospital I got an offer from AIIMS and left that job--I was there for only a few weeks in fact but Komal darts into my thoughts time and again.I wonder how her delivery went,what happened to the baby and most importantly--what became of Komal.Did she live a normal carefree life like others of her age?Has she been able to bury the past?She must be above sixty yrs today-how has her life shaped up?Where is her baby,what became of it?Does she think of it sometimes?I am sure it must have been admitted to an orphanage--living a motherless,homeless life for no fault of it's own.
These crimes have became rampant today.In those days child sexual abuse ,if it existed-as it must have done-was not talked of publicly.Today this danger looms large in every parent's mind.The least we can do is to establish a healthy relationship with our children so that they confide in us and ask for our guidance whenever they feel the need.When children enter the teens they begin to view parents' concern as an invasion of their privacy so that it becomes difficult to strike a balance between safeguarding them and allowing them freedom at the same time.Parents tread on thin ice since they would not like to be dismissed as helicopter parents.It is indeed a very challenging task!
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