Maria Fabrizio for NPR

The most difficult thing in the world is for a female to step outside her home without a male guardian. Now I am in no way insinuating that a woman has to be accompanied by a male member of the family. Rather I am lamenting about the situation men of our society exploit on finding a female alone.

They think they have been sent to the earth with a sole duty (not to be missed) to take advantage of any female they find on the way home.

Again I do not say all men are the same; but I still remember the fewer times I stepped outside I got harassed. In my school days we went to the zoo and there in a wave of extreme rush a man groped my butt.

The second time in my university days on a solitary road me and my group of friends passed by a male hostalite who had taken out his whole package to dangle outside his pant.

The third time a bus conductor poked my legs with his boner which forced me to stop travelling on local buses and I had to travel on university point that took hours to drop me home. The other option was a rickshaw charging exorbitant fare rates and where I had to keep reciting ayat-ul-kursi till I reached home. There are still a lot more incidents but let’s come to the point first.

Back in my school days we went to school on a pick up van designed to take kids school and back home. The driver was a man of at least 70 years of age, tall, gaunt, toothless and bald.

My sister had used the same van for her school and she being very smart had sensed this man’s attitude so she had warned me never to talk to this babji. I did as I was told but there was another girl who went to the same school as mine and she fell prey to this babji.

Also check: There is NO excuse for harassment.

Not that she liked what he did; she simply could not gather the courage to either stop him or talk about it to her mom. Babji touched her almost everywhere and sometimes even made her sit on the front seat with him and there while applying gear he made sure he touched her legs. This was an apparent case of child abuse happening very casually and we could do nothing about it.

 It wasn’t that the rest of us could not make out what was happening; we knew it, witnessed it, just could not talk about it or accept it in the first place. It was so difficult to accept that such an old man could stoop so low as to grope a girl who could be his granddaughter.>

It kept going on for a year or two and then something happened. The mother of the poor girl had her van changed after some heated exchange of words and we too had to follow the same. Maybe she confided in her mother or what. I don’t know what caused all this but all I could wish was that it should have happened the moment he touched her the first time. It took about 2-3 years for her to finally push away this nightmare.

This is why they say sex education is important. We need to tell our children the difference between good and bad touch to prevent child abuse. We need to tell them who can touch them and who cannot and where?

Keeping quiet like nothing happened will only aggravate the already simmering situation of our frustrated society.

Every other day we are sending our kids unattended to these van drivers, sports coaches, teachers and even relatives. Every time your child comes back you need to talk to him how he or she was treated by that person.

The vultures are lurking somewhere very near our kids and we need to make sure the environment we provide them to flourish is safe and healthy.

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