What is ‘NO’?
Disagreement, disapproval, refusal, abnegation and a NO means a NO. This word has huge power to put a stop on things which is happening unwillingly. This NO can avoid a lot of problems that may come in your way.
(The names of the people concerned have been changed)
This story is about an eight years old girl, named Roshani, who didn’t know that there are monsters out in the world disguised as ‘humans’. One evening during summer, she had few guests over at her place. A little while later, she heard her father saying- “Lavanya and Vaibhav can live with us until their parents return to the city”. Roshni knew both of them as Lavanya was her elder sister, Priya’s friend and Vaibhav was Lavanya’s younger brother. They stayed at Roshani’s place for two days.
The first night at her place, they had supper together and after a casual session of chit chatting, Roshini departed to her room to sleep. Her sister and her friend were busy discussing something while Vaibhav was busy playing play station. He was an eighteen years old boy whose cunning mind and bad intentions were undetectable from his face. It was evident was that he had his eyes set at Roshini, even though she was a little girl.
Later that night when the other three came into the room to sleep, Vaibhav meticulously placed himself next to Roshani on the bed. When everybody fell asleep, Roshani suddenly woke up by an unpleasant touch on her back. She could feel a set of fingers slowly tracing its way down to her bottoms. She noticed these set of fingers which were shamelessly making its way to where it wanted to go and these fingers belonged to Vaibhav. As he rolled his hands over her private parts again and again, she became numb. In that moment her muscles gave up. She lay there still, like a rock. Overwhelmed with fear, she tried to resist Vaibhav but he forcefully and adamantly kept on touching her private parts. Then she tried to wake her sister up but she was fast asleep. On noticing her constant attempts in waking up her sister, Vaibhav threatened Roshni that she will have to face harsh consequences, if she said anything about this incident to anyone.
Roshini couldn’t sleep the whole night out of fear. The next morning she went to her mother as she wasn’t feeling good. She became awfully quiet and looked lost. Acknowledging her changed demeanor, Roshani’s mother enquired her about it. Roshini recalled Vaibhav's threats and said nothing. Later in the day, Vaibhav again tried to touch her inappropriately but couldn’t succeed as Roshani’s sister came at the very moment with her friend Lavanya. However the damage was already done. That incident traumatized Roshini to the extent that she would lose balance around other males except her father. She would shiver and get anxious. This sudden shift in confidence came into the mother’s notice. She shared it with her older daughter, who too had been noticing the strange behavior. They both had a word with Roshni. Her sister asked about her changed behavior and the answer to it shocked the whole family. Roshini burst into tears and narrated the vile act she had to endure. The mother comforted her miserable daughter. Eventually the family decided to take action against the pedophile. A case was filed against Vaibhav under The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act, 2012. Through this incident Roshni’s mother taught her daughter the importance of standing up and speaking against it, she even told her that if anyone ever tries to touch her in an inappropriate manner then she should learn to say ‘NO’. And be firm about it.
Such incidents happen every day in our country. This doubles the importance of imparting the knowledge to our younger ones that they should stand and speak up, if they ever go through such incidents. According to a study 90% of the sexual abuse incidents happen within the family. It is therefore necessary for parents to teach their children about this, and also give them the comfort level that their children can come up and speak to them if ever such incidents shall occur. Also parents should teach their children to stand up against any inappropriate behavior and say no. The feeling of touch against your will never goes away. Such incidents can happen not only with children but also with adults. We need to sensitize and highlight the importance of consent between two people.
Unfortunately our Bollywood movies and songs encourage creepy and non-consensual behavior. We must realize that each individual has their self-respect, dignity and their own will and we cannot force ourselves on to others. People need to draw a fine line between their desire and their needs. No one is a mean to satisfy one’s want. Self-control is the key to a better and safer society.
TO SAY NO IS TO ‘DISAGREE’
Picture Courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zeldman/16783329763/in/photostream/
Student - SIL, Prayagraj