Bengaluru: As the focus remained on fighting the COVID-19 towards the end of 2020, a small girl and her two brothers were waging a war silently at their home in rural Bengaluru every single day. Abandoned by their mother and brought up by their alcoholic father and grandparents, the children, who are not even 10-years-old, were allegedly being sexually abused by their own uncle. Taking advantage of grandmother’s addiction, the accused used to gift alcohol to her and make his way into their house. He would then sexually abuse the children and threaten them with dire consequences if they dared to speak up.
The children, however, did manage to share their plight with a doctor from a mobile medical unit. He approached the police and uploaded a video appeal on WhatsApp, which came to the attention of the Satyarthi Movement’s Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement).
When we intervened in the case, we came to know about the basic problems, how it happened, and how it is an inhuman way of behaving by children’s own blood relatives, said Binu Verghese, State Coordinator, Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
A heart-to-heart conversation revealed the extent of the abuse the children were subjected to. The elder child, the girl, was not just informed of her own plight but also what her two younger brothers were subjected to.
The accused uncle was arrested within two weeks’ time. The grandmother, who used to be bribed with liquor, was also accused in this case as she was fully aware of the crime but chose to keep mum. As a result, the traumatized children were taken away from their hostile home environment to child care institutions.
While speaking to NDTV, Daranesh M.B, Project Coordinator, Open Shelter For Children, Sneha Bharathi Education Society, explained how the grandmother negated the abuse and turned a blind eye.
The uncle has done this many times. The child told nobody. She did tell her grandmother but the grandmother took no action. So, because of the fear within the family, the child didn’t tell anybody what was happening. The grandmother told her to leave it alone, that it didn’t matter and that nothing would happen. The grandmother showed no affection to the child and did not take action after the child spoke to her, he said.
In 90 percent of child sexual abuse cases, the child knows the abuser. Many such cases happen within the home, by the child’s own relatives. Shedding all inhibitions, while families need to stand by their victimized children and seek justice, the role that alert citizens can play in bringing the guilty to book is also amplified by this case.