Pari is a 7-year-young, lives with her parents Meera and Shyam. Their day starts with getting ready for work, getting Pari ready and taking her to school. Meera is a teacher in the school Pari studies and Shyam is an engineer. Shyam drops Meera and Pari to the school and goes to work and in the evening, returns home with Pari and Meera and so on. Pari has a small brother that is 2-year-young who stays at home with her grandmother, she takes care of him.
Today, as usual, Shyam took Meera and Pari to school before leaving for work. Meera is smart and outspoken in school, has a lot of friends and everyone loves her. Meera leaves for the teacher’s cabin and Pari to her class, on her way she sees the school compounder taking her friend behind the school’s garage. Her friend, Naina is holding a teddy in one hand and the other hand was caught by the compounder. Pari got suspicious of the act and followed them quietly. She peeked through the wall and what she saw shocked her.
The compounder was touching Naina in her censored area, gave her chocolate, and told her to keep quiet. Pari couldn’t say a word and she ran from there. In the afternoon Pari tried to talk to Naina but she couldn’t say much.
Later in the evening when Pari’s parents took her home. Pari looked disturbed by the incident she saw this morning, her parents got suspicious and wanted to keep the conversation going. Meera gestured to Shyam to start something to talk to, so did Shyam.
“Pari, do you remember what we taught about the touch?” asked Shyam.
“Yes, Dad, you taught me about the good touch and the bad touch”, Pari replied nervously.
“Can you tell us what you remember, Pari?” Meera asked.
“Yes, Mom. When I am hugging you or dad it is a good touch. A hug from grandparents, or sisters is a good touch. If the teachers pat me on the back saying for a good job then it’s not necessarily a bad touch, a handshake with friends is a good touch.”
“But if someone is touching my thighs, waist, the chest or panty area is a bad touch. If I am not comfortable hugging or shaking hands and someone makes me do it, it is a bad touch. If someone is pinching me or touching me in a way that makes me nervous is a bad touch. Mom, if I don’t like to be touched anywhere then it’s a bad touch”, Pari replied.
“Good job Pari,” Meera replied.
Pari just smiled and kept quiet again for a long time that Meera and Shyam got worried about her changed behavior. Usually, she talks a lot returning home about everything that happened in school. Shyam couldn’t resist the silence and asked, “Pari, what happened? Why are you so quiet? Did something happen in school?
Pari was nervous but she knew she had to talk about the incident to her parents.
“Actually,...”, Pari narrated everything that she saw in the school.
Her parents were shocked and assured to figure everything in the school tomorrow.
The next day, Pari with her parents went straight to the principal, said everything she saw.
The principal was shocked and asked Pari to assure what she was saying was exactly what she saw.
“Are you sure Pari? Did you see exactly that?”, Asked the principal.
“Yes, madam, the compounder uncle was touching Naina on her panty area and her chest. He also asked her to sit on his thighs, gave her chocolates, and said it was top-secret between them.” Pari said.
The principal called Naina to her cabin, and asked, “Naina dear, what happened to you yesterday? Did the compounder uncle give you chocolates and a teddy?”.
Naina hesitated. She didn’t say anything. “Go on baby, no one will do or say anything to you. What happened yesterday? Meera assured.
Naina said everything exactly what Pari said. Both Naina and Meera had tears in their eyes.
The principals felt guilty, soon then Naina’s parents arrived at the cabin and heard everything that happened at the moment. Naina’s parents were shocked to hear about the incident. Naina agreed on the incident, the poor girl didn’t know what happened to her was wrong.
The compounder got arrested and the principal decided on each student to know about the good and the bad touch. Further, the principal also talked about the physical boundaries and why it is important for the kids to learn.
“It’s okay for the kids to say ‘No’ to adults if they are not comfortable and their ‘No’ shall be respected. This way they will learn their ‘No’ matter and they can be vocal about their comfort.”
“Asking consent before hugging them, or for even a handshake, or before any other form of physical affection. This will help them with the importance of consent, for them and while with others.”
“Forcing affection to kids, even your own ones will shape them in a way that they think it’s okay to do so, or if someone is doing any bad things to them. We need to stop doing this.”
“Teaching them that there are other forms of showing affection, and being physical in everything isn’t necessary. This way they will still be able to understand affection while holding onto their physical boundaries.”
Pari, Naina along with the whole school then learned about the good touch, the bad touch, and physical boundaries. Since then, no such incidents were reported in the school, and awareness was carried out by all the schools in the community.
To eliminate violence, we need to start with the young. To commit, or to endure all and keep quiet, we are raising the culprits and victims in the same society, let’s break the pattern this time. Speak up about the wrong, learn, be aware and contribute to creating a violence-free world.