November 29, 2013

Do some of us believe that parents have the option of killing their child if they find her in a compromising position?

Some of the posts written by an eminent blogger (link, link) following the judgment on the Talwars (link) prompted me to do this post. I am including excerpts from these well-written posts to drive home the point. I honestly have no opinion on who killed Aarushi and I don't intend to comment on whether the CBI court is right or not in convicting Nupur and Rajesh Talwar for Aarushi-Hemaraj's murders. [ The supreme court has already chastised the media for distaste and lack of sensitivity in covering this case (link). ] The blog posts which I came across (link, link) drew my attention to reactions to the conviction from some section of the public. This section of the public believes that if the CBI's speculation is true - that if Aarushi's parents killed her in a fit of rage upon finding their thirteen year old child in a compromising position with their servant - the Talwars shouldn't be held guilty and should be empathized with - because this section of the public sees killing the child and servant as one of the or the only option(s) which the Talwars had as 'Indian parents'.

Let us look at comments from this section of the public which I came across through various sources:

  1. A TOI comment: "It might be in a fit of rage that the parents might have killed her. Rewinding a bit, only one angle is there: the poor little girl who was adolescent that time was lured by the servant when parents where away from home. Parents saw their child in compromising position and killed her in a fit of rage. They hid it fearing shame she brought to the familyFrom an Indian parent point of view, no decent parent will accept it and that too with a servant though murder is not a solution. Just imagine how bad the parent who showered all their love to their child will be disappointed upon seeing this! Pathetic to the core is our justice system: If court can assure proper punishment to such Hemraj and culprits of Delhi and Mumbai cases, that will instill fear for such criminals. Since India law and punishment is very light, it is creating more and more criminals. Lesson for parents: Never ever provide accommodation to male servants in the same house if you have girl child " (link)
  2. Another TOI comment: " I am a girl, grew up in a very liberal family. I & my sister both chose our life partners and our parents approved of that. But we both knew what our limits were and our focus was our education. Our parent’s focus was to earn, provide us what they could and give us good morals. They did their job, we did ours. We are professionals today. We had friends (boys and girls) but we never betrayed our parents. In this case, Aarushi was wrong, taking advantage of her parent’s absence, parents were wrong probably trying to spend most of their time at their clinic and (of course they were doing it for their only child!!), but they forgot, she needed their time more than their money. Where is this society going? Where are our kids going? Why are we not involved in their lives as our parents were? I have a daughter and such incidents really scare me as a mother. Aarushi’s murder can not be justified, but I can also imagine a parent’s rage, anger when he/she saw their barely teenage daughter in a compromised position with a much older man (doesnt matter a domestic help or anyone else). In the end, everyone lost…… but in my opinion, the 13 year old girl is old enough to understand her actions and what can it do!! To avoid any other Aarushis, parents need to start getting more involved in their children’s lives and probably have a better after school arrangements for their children who are under a particular age…… It is a sad day, the whole family is finished…… but we all can learn something from this….. parents and children!!!! " (link)
  3. Another comment which was brought to light by Fem on this blog-post (link): "This a wrong judgment, if the parents have the right give life to child then they have the right to take that life, court or law has no right to convict the parents for killing their child."
  4. A comment on TOI: "Before any comment first of think once if you are in position of talwar than what is your action. you found your 14 year daughter and 45 year old servant in very good innocent condition ?????? reply what is your reaction after scene ?????" (link)

I'm giving excerpts from two well-written posts (linklink) here:

// It seems many believe that the parents could not have reacted in any other way. //

// Are these trolls, pretending to be grateful Indian daughters of parents who ‘gave them freedom’ and who are quick to believe that a thirteen year old ‘betrayed her parents’ trust’ – something they claim, as good Indian daughters, they would never do? 
It seems the Noida police has (with no evidence) convinced many that there can be only one ‘motive’ when a girl child is killed, and it involves a ‘compromising position’. And it is, as always, the victim’s fault. //

// Or do many see the police version as a validation of their suspicions of what ‘westernisation can do to the society’? Or is it that many Indians have placed themselves in the Noida police version of the Talwars’ position and ‘understood’ the murders? //

// I find this mindset difficult to understand – there seems to be no idea in so many minds that a 13 year old is a child and any sex with her by any adult is child abuse and rape. //

What do those comments tell us about Indian parenting? I really want to know: What would you do if you find your adolescent daughter in a compromising position with a servant? Do you see killing or physically abusing her out of rage as an option? Do you see this as your daughter's fault because she shamed your family or do you see this as child sexual abuse perpetrated by your servant? Can any sexual interaction between a child and an adult be seen as anything but child sexual abuse? Or do you consider other factors like how she dressed, whether she agreed to or not, like this judge who blamed a 10 year old for her own rape (link)? Do we as a society at some level see children as property in which parents have invested to uphold the family 'honor'? Isn't our parenting system lacking in helping children cope with puberty and adolescence?

Here's what I think you ought to do: 

1. Fire the servant and register a complaint against him for child sexual abuse.
2. Talk to your daughter openly without intimidating her and understand what she is going through. Help her deal with her puberty phase. Counsel her about the emotional and biological consequences of having sex before reaching certain maturity. A helpful link:
3. Let her know that she can always trust you to support her and that she is most welcome any time to complain about any uncomfortable behavior she is facing from any person, however powerful she thinks that person might be. If she doesn't trust you to complain to you about abuse, how can you ever protect her? Some helpful links:

Related posts:

Help children cope with puberty and adolescence:

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