The Bad Touch by Payal Shah Karwa is a hard hitting book. A compendium of real life stories from child sex thrivers and victims, the book presents the harsh realities of survivors and their struggle to live with their lost childhood. We hear so many stories from newspapers, about victims who have suffered for years together and like countless others, I too have wondered why these kids never opened up about what was happening to them. I got my answers after reading this book.
The first story is that of Harish Iyer’s, and I dare you to read through it without shedding a few tears. With hard-hitting raw language, the author chronicles Harish’s trauma and abuse. I had to take a break after reading this story and I came back to the book after a few weeks. What happened to this small boy was disgusting beyond words and I felt a rage towards that monster that defies words.
The book virtually breaks the various myths that surround the child sex abuse issue such as –
- Girls are victims of CSA and not boys
- CSA is something that happens in the slums
- The child will forget what happened
As the survivors share their stories, we learn how little we know about this issue. As the author puts forth, “They suffer quietly; they live quietly; they die quietly”. A child who suffers through CSA find themselves losing many things besides their innocence; trust, self esteem, self worth. Some shut themselves up in a virtual hell while others express their trauma through creative expression or self destruction.
And I take a bow to people like Harish Iyer, Anurag Kashyap, Lata, Jai, Nidhi, Amrita and Mrunalini who have shared their stories in this book to teach us parents, the value of innocence and I am happy to see that they have overcome their past to make something meaningful of their lives. But it also brings forth the truth that there are countless others, who are suffering abuse without any hope of redemption.
The Bad Touch is also a handbook that tells you how to recognize signs of abuse, how to tackle it, how to guard your child against it, how to teach them to differentiate between good and bad touch. It also puts forth the changes that India needs to bring in its legal wheels, where CSA is concerned which was an eye opener for me.
Verdict: A book highly recommended for all parents.