Saturday, April 26, 2014

Book Review : The Bad Touch

Title : The Bad Touch
Author : Payal Shah Karwa
Publisher : HayHouse
ISBN : 978-93-81398-48-7

The Bad Touch by Payal Shah Karwa is a compilation of real life experiences of survivors of child sexual abuse(CSA). CSA is one heinous crime which is impacting the most vulnerable organs of our society. Whether it is one incident or continuous abuse, the torture transcends the physical plane, it goes much beyond it, scarring a child's childhood and his/her individuality. By sharing their heart-wrenching stories, the victims are trying to extend their solidarity to the cause of spreading awareness about this evil in the society. This is a wonderful step forward with the objective of making those individuals who have been wronged, to come out with confidence because it is NOT their fault.

The first detailed account is that of Harish Iyer, who first narrated his personal horrifying experience on the show 'Satyamev Jayate'. He endured the abuse for many years at the hands of his uncle who threatened dire consequences for his family if he let a single word out. But one fine day he mustered the courage to say NO and since then he has been active in spreading CSA awareness. Lata became a victim at the hands of her uncle who was supposed to be her guardian. Unfortunately her grandmother refused to believe her and she went through the trauma of feeling alone and dejected. A noted film director Anurag Kashyap had been a victim of incest and sexual abuse for a long period of eleven years. 'The severe abuse affected him and he grew up to be a troubled teenager. He suffered from chronic relationship issues as he found it tough to be normal. He was sunk deep in his own world, bereft of emotional empathy.' He found the ultimate solace in expressing his pent up emotions and thoughts in writing. There are many other stories which, besides highlighting the perils of the victims, brings to fore the apathy of loved ones and the society towards the wronged individuals.

The true life experiences will shake the readers to the core. But this book is an attempt by the author to - help the survivors heal themselves by sharing their stories, to create and spread awareness of the issue of child sex abuse among parents and guardians, to inspire people to get together for the fight against CSA.

The book offers much more than these inspiring stories. It brings out the statistics about how prevalent CSA is in India, the common myths that usually people carry, the warning signs that should be carefully watched in children to sense if anything is amiss, what are the precautionary measures that must be taken, how to deal with CSA and which organizations to approach to seek help. Our crippling society needs more and more such forums where the issues like these are brought out in open and discussed in order to build a better future for all of us. The book has served its purpose of providing useful information along with being a source of  great inspiration for many affected. However, the content could have been organised in a better manner and the language could have been more simplistic so that it is readable, relatable and understandable for more and more people.

Some voluntary bloggers and social networkers, along with the support of some NGOs have come together to organise an annual awareness programme - Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month (CSAAM). April month has been picked up as CSAAM and during this period, various workshops are conducted, discussions are organised, experiences are shared, methods are devised to eradicate the menace from out society. 

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