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Conspiracy of silence
by Thanos Kalamidas
2007-04-11 09:46:24
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Following the release of a report on child abuse in India, the Minister for Women and Child Development, Renuka Chowdhury said: “In India there’s a tradition of denying child abuse, it doesn’t happen here is what we normally say. But by remaining silent, we have aided and abetted the abuse of children.”

Ovi magazine - stop abuse kidsReading that, there was only one thing in my mind: not only in India, but in the entire world exactly the same thing happens. We keep abuse as a secret; we are scared to say it out loud with the worst results for the kid and for future victims of the abuser. To have a ministry that is working for the benefit and development of women and kids I find it extraordinary good, despite all the calls of equality especially in the west.

The bare truth is that equality has a long way to go before reaching the reality of every day life. I have to admit that I found it admirable for the Indian government to admit that there is a problem so big to create a ministry just for this work. At the same time, I found it very brave that the minister not only did the survey but she had the bravery to stand up and admit that two out of three children in India have been abused.

Not many politicians would have the same strength, especially in countries were tradition, however brutal, guides the lives of people, especially in an overpopulated country with numbers like India. Mrs. Chowdhury called for an end to the ‘conspiracy of silence’ and I wish people from all around the world could hear her and make it practice because then we would never have the numbers of dead or seriously wounded kids.

I cannot resist moving from India to Europe because however sure we feel about information and preventing abuse it happens and unfortunately it happens daily. Newspapers, television and magazines are the worst witnesses having often daily a story of a kid that has been abused or a story of an arrest who admitted to have abused kids that never dared to say the truth. What makes me wonder is when this – I don’t even think to call human – was burning a two-year-old with a cigarette in an apartment and nobody heard anything. If they did, why didn’t they do anything?
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Have we become so isolated from our surroundings and so much focus on the latest Idol’s series to ignore other sounds? What does it take for people to understand and break this, as the Indian minister put it, ‘conspiracy of silence’?

The study that was organized by the Indian ministry for Women and Child Development took two years to complete and covered 13 states where 12,250 children between five and twelve and 2,325 young adults over twelve were questioned. Noticeable it is what Dr. Loveleen Kacker, the official in charge of child welfare in the ministry, said, that the study revealed that contrary to the general belief that only girls were sexually abused, boys were equally at risk if not more.

She turned the revelation into horror when she added, “A substantial number of the abusers were persons in trust and care givers who included parents, relatives and school teachers.”

I don’t feel like having anything else to add other than please wake up: 30,000 kids die everyday somewhere in this world and who knows how many are the thousands that suffer every minute, every second on this planet.

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