A court ruled recently yesterday that “Even if you keep your hand on the shoulder of a woman, it is for the lady to comment on the nature of the touch, whether it was friendly, brotherly or fatherly, in other words only a girl can decide the nature of the touch. This judgement comes as a huge relief as finally the protectors of law have understood the ‘good touch, bad touch’ we women often speak of and which is far too often rebuffed by men as a figment of our imagination. We women experience this time and again when the touch of a man who maybe part of our social circle or work environment or even part of our family sends a chill down our spine and makes us recoil in disgust. And it is wrong to believe that that this ability comes with experience. Far from that. Even a little child can feel the difference between good and bad touch.
In India and I guess the world over children are abused relentlessly by people they know, people who are respected within their families, neighbours and others. These children know when the pat or the hug is good and when it is bad. But when they muster the courage to tell this to someone they trust, they are again brushed aside with an outraged reference to some absurd notion like family honour!
Please remember that when a child summons up the courage to tell you about such an incident, it is because she trusts you implicitly and playing her down is condemning her to consequences that can destroy her whole life. Yes even a pat can be abuse if it is perceives as such. The reaction is intuitive and instinctive. Predators lurk at every corner and do not have horns! They look just like us and sometimes are people you trust.
The statistics are terrifying. It is time we all took up the cudgels against this terrible crime.