Bangalore school rape: Media, politicians affecting kids, do we understand?

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Ever since the shocking news about the sexual assault of a six-year-old child in a premier school in Bangalore broke out, all hell has broken lose. The media has made every chance to grab this opportunity to make its presence felt while politicians have also thrown their hats into the ring. The situation has become so terrible that I have seen many of my Bangalore friends getting panicky about their kids who study either in the school which made the headlines or in others across the city.

How much is this sort of reaction helping that child and its family at this hour of grief? Are we really making a mark of benevolence by raising such a mindless cry?

Certainly not.

Just think about the other children of that school which they love so much. The mindless coverage by the media and the shameless opportunism showed by the politicians to get a mileage from the incident can do a grave damage to these children's psychology and put their families under stress and trauma. But none is careful about insulating the children from all the bad effects that media professionals and the opportunist politicians are inflicting on them.

Media has its importance but limits as well

Media certainly has a role to play in the society. It mirrors the ills and acts as a vehicle, at least that is what it should be doing. But in our country, the media loves to overdo things and try to set the rule of the game itself, caring little for the consequences.

Media not helping traumatised families' cause

I have a friend in Bangalore called Nandita (name changed) who has two small daughters, one of whom goes to the same school which came to the headlines, and she is extremely upset once this news broke.

"I am not only worried about my daughter's stay in the school but also the way in which media people are hounding me and my husband on this. They are continuously asking why did we got our daughter admitted in that school. Is this how the media functions? We need some time to regather our mental strength and not the disturbance," she said.

The story of Nandini is repeating in the lives of many other families. People are angry and their emotions are battered. But isn't the media's hyper-reaction messing up things? National media channels showed Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah dozing off in the legislature even as talks were being held on rape, stirring up another controversy. What has the chief minister's sleep to do with the rape? Should he run after the rapists with a stick in his hand? Why does the media have to stretch things too far to make an appeal for TRP?

Politicians mobilise cadres, do they respect the families' privacy?

The same holds true about the politicians. They do not care for the privacy of the families but for their own political benefits. It is easy for the politicians to mobilise their cadres and steal the media limelight by staging a protest in the open but for an aggrieved family, it means further humiliation and neither the media nor the politicians have the right to make them suffer, if they can't heal their wounds.

What if the little soul faces humiliation all around?

For that little soul who has undergone the worst experience of life, the pandemonium doesn't mean anything. But it can cause the child more injury if her dearest friend refuses to play with her tomorrow and question her alma mater's reputation. She might also face humiliating questions from her neighbours and other senior members of her locality. Will any media representative or politician console her if she weeps in the dead of night?

Protest and threats do not resolve this kind of sensitive issue. Only the parents and guardians can best address the issue by coming together and approach the right government and non-government authorities/agencies while seeking justice. That's easier said than done but yet can be a more effective way to deal with the woes. But the parents must also understand that ransacking the school or demanding its permanent closure or openly humiliating a teacher who represents the school will cause immense harm by shattering the trust that works as the basic foundation of the sacred mission called education.

Let our children live a life of dignity. Or history will never forgive us.

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