As adults we know that pedophiles lurk everywhere, in buses, schools, family gatherings...you name it, we are paranoid; but like the little girl in the book says “why didn’t the people who loved me warn me about people like this?”
IF ONLY someone had broken the silence is a poignant little booklet, ably illustrated with adorable caricatures, on one of the most sensitive subjects in Asian society today- sexual violence against children.
Sensitive, professionally written books for children, on sexuality are generally limited to very expensive imports from USA and UK and available in upscale outlets mostly unaffordable by the average middle income family anyway. So I must say I have been searching for this sort of a book for ages, and its disappointing that there doesn’t seem to be any like this around in the local market, and oddly even this booklet is “for limited circulation only” .
The truth is maybe we parents do tell children about these things but just like all the other advice you give a child, sometimes it becomes difficult to make things exactly clear and to get their attention for long enough to emphasize the gravity of these problems.
The difficult subject of child abuse is approached from the first person account of a little Indian girl growing up among a typical extended family of diverse family members and relations. A theme so sensitive must be handled carefully and this booklet can be regarded not just as a work of art in its own right, and timely reading for children on ground realities of life, but as an obviously professional output.
Ms Bhasin’s little booklet can be called an excellent opening point, or conversation starter or perhaps a revision of things already discussed. Either way it’s a book that I recommend parents to invest in and perhaps the powers that be should consider translating it, because child abuse is one of the best kept secrets in local society and as Dr Martin Luther King Jr said “We Have to Repent, Not So Much for the Evil Deeds of the Wicked People But for the Appalling Silence of the Good People"