Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Bad Touch by Payal Shah Karwa

It could have been a Saturday like any weekend when  husband has work and I spent the weekend home alone, doing nothing much but still be super busy in doing nothing! But yesterday was a different saturday. Though I get to know about few bloggers meet in the city, I never had the chance to attend one. But this one caught my attention. The event was Preview of a book called "The Bad Touch". Written by Payal Shah Karwa, The Bad Touch talks about the sensitive issue of Child Sex Abuse ( CSA) and tells the stories of survivors like Harish Iyer, Amrita Purkayastha, Anurag Kashyap and few others Divya ( alias)Lata(Alias) Nidhi ( Alias) and Mrunalini ( Alias). The book also shares some practical information and technical guidelines for parents sourced from the NGO Arpan . So I was there on a Saturday afternoon at Cafe Infinito, Bandra Kurla Complex looking forward to an interactive session with the author and fellow bloggers.

Payal Shah Karwa
Photo courtesy : Dwitiy Revankar

The event was moderated by Kiran Manral and in the discussion were Payal, the author, Harish Iyer, noted social activist and Puja Taparia, Founder and CEO of Arpan; who offers a helping hand to victims of CSA and is trying to create awareness towards the same.In attendance was a large group of bloggers from across Mumbai. The session was highly interactive and insightful.

Kiran, Payal,Harish and Puja
Photo courtesy : Dwitiy Revankar

Child Sex Abuse - is a very touching and a highly sensitive issue.The author spent almost 5 years in researching and preparing the stories for this book. This meant treading  on a very slippery path, as she had to deal with individuals who went through such harrowing experiences that one may not ever imagine. To ask them about those could lead to the opening of a flood gate which may threaten the present. For obvious reasons, many people did not want to share their real identity. There are others like Harish Iyer , Anurag Basu and Amrita Purkayastha who suffered but not only survived but thrived from their experiences. They are no more victims but they emerged victorious from the agony. 

When asked why she decided to write a book on such a subject, Payal replied that she wanted to write about something which is socially relevant rather than fiction or romance. Harish Iyer was also her inspiration when she met him for the first time in 2006 in a Child Sex Abuse awareness programme and learnt about CSA and the man himself. In her own words  " I was looking to write a book about a real story which would add value to the society and millions around the world. Child Sex Abuse was an issue which was grossly being ignored by the Government,the Law and Society as a whole. I chose to write on CSA inspired by Harish Iyer and his story."

Harish Iyer
Photo courtesy : Dwitiy Revankar

The stories in the Bad Touch shock and at times numb the reader. The book also tries to equip the guardians or parents with sufficient and necessary information to fight against this menace. 
This is the time to talk,share and create awareness about CSA. Donot hesitate to point out if you think something is wrong in the relationship between a child and the care taker, be it a parent, grand parent, relatives and anyone around.Raise your voice. Educate your child or any child you know of about the good touch , the bad touch; the safe touch, the unsafe touch; the right touch, the wrong touch. Teach them to protest and thus protect themselves.