What will people say Beta? By Bandana Saikia

This phrase is some way or the other way is actually creating the problem in this society. There are many reasons why a child victim of sexual abuse is not likely to tell anyone about their abuse. Often, the abusive adult will convince the child that they won’t be believed or that they are somehow responsible for the abuse and will be punished for it. I recently interviewed my close friends regarding their take on child sexual abuse and tried to listen to their story if they had any. Most of them aged between 20-25 years old and it came to me that out of 15 people that I interviewed, 11 people have had faced sexual abuse in one way or the other way especially in their schools. School is a beautiful place and that’s where a child grows. Teachers are considered to be the most vital part of a student’s life but when we get to hear stories where they are sexually exploited that’s where the trouble begins and makes us question that why? I want to share the story of one of my own interviewed friend who was under constant bully by her mathematics teacher for three years. She was weak in mathematics and her parents decided to enroll her for tuition under her school mathematics teacher. She had borne the bully of being touched in her personal parts for three years when she was only 14. It’s not that she never informed her parents but they feared that she will be restricted from attending school but it came to me as a surprise that she took help of her classmates and made a complaint against him to their principal and he was caught and fired from his job. It shows two sides of a story. The parents were reluctant to help their child to get out of that abuse and decided to remain silent but her reaching out to her friend actually did bring a change to her life. This is where she wanted me to spread the message that sometimes when your own ones fear, one should be strong and reach out to their close friends.
Parents fear honor and name in the society. It’s not that I am trying to stereotype every parent in this universe but 3 out of every 4 parents in India fear the society and decides to not raise their voice against such child bullies. Here are some insights of the interview I conducted in which I have tried to find out the reasons behind why children don’t speak up against their sexual abuse –
• A Child may be confused if they experienced positive physical pleasure, arousal or emotional intimacy from the abuse. This confusion can make it difficult for the child to speak up. This insight was talked briefly by my two friends who aged 16-17 years old when they engaged in an intimate moment for the first time which came to them as a sexual abuse in the name of relationship. I decided to post this in my analysis because this shows the need of sex education from an age of 10 years old which will actually help them in exploring what is a good pleasure or a bad pleasure. In India, talking about ‘Sex’ is a taboo which I think should be removed and parents and schools should actually impart sex education without having any guilt because this will help them distinguish between what is a good pleasure and an abusive pleasure.
• People who abuse children may offer a combination of gifts or threats about what may happen if the child says ‘no’ or tells someone. They may scare the child with threats of being hurt physically but more often the threat is about what will be lost if they tell their family example being someone being murdered.
• It is common for victims of sexual assault to face scrutiny regarding what they did to “cause” the incident, (e.g., what they were wearing, whether they were using drugs or alcohol, etc.) instead of focusing on their lack of consent.
• Sexual trauma is associated with a high degree of stigma in our society. Most teens are embarrassed for others to know that they experienced sexual violence. Not having been able to protect themselves during the assault causes many teens to feel weak, ashamed, or even that they deserved what happened. They may also fear being “slut-shamed” or criticized for real or alleged sexual behavior.
• Teens may avoid disclosing because they fear parental punishment for rule breaking (e.g., for having used drugs or alcohol prior to the assault, being out after curfew or in a location that is not allowed, or meeting people online). Teens may also fear reprisals from potentially violent perpetrators, or social ostracism by perpetrators who are popular as well as their friends.


  1. Really moving piece Bandana! The statistics are shocking aren’t they? You are really starting to understand about why children don’t feel comfortable telling.

  2. This piece tells us exactly why children are afraid to tell their parents and even their peers about what happened with them!

  3. It was a great article. It really talked about the how our school and society dodge the topic of sexual abuse. It also highlights that the school where a child spends most of her/his day is also a place where that child faces sexual assault.

  4. Fantastic Article ,Bandana Saikia, i really like first point in regard to Physical Postive Arousal from the abuse and even i write about it in one of my article (for kids upto 8 Years) that instead of Good Touch or Bad Touch , we should teach them Secret Touch, its same like Teenagers. So Sex Education is very important.

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