Review of The Bad Touch; Payal Shah Karwa; Hay House 2014; p 264
– Shana Susan Ninan
No amount of field work, sessions with victims of Child Sexual Abuse and reading articles and watching videos had prepared me for this. To actually read first-person accounts of CSA, incest and child rape was a totally different experience. There was an ache in my heart as the pages flew by, finishing the book in two short sittings. Since my teenage I’ve been working in several social and community circles, helping CSA victims reclaim their lives. I’ve spoken at various forums, voiced my dissent to many people and institutions. The difference probably lies in the fact that I’m the mother of a two-year-old boy now. Yes, that’s it. Reading Payal Shah Karwa’s The Bad Touch brought me closer to the topic on a personal level.
Known filmmakers Harish Iyer and Anurag Kashyap narrate the incidents from their life. It is followed up by the stories of other men and women who’ve suffered in their childhood. The traumatic situations are brought back to life, the painful episodes opened up, layer by layer. Readers, in spite of their background and exposure, will be able to identify with the real life stories in the book.
In India, it is said that almost 64% of children have endured some form of sexual abuse or another. And in majority of cases, the perpetrator was known to them closely. I hope this book opens up this taboo topic, enough for people to frankly discuss and address issues of Child Sexual Abuse. The book is positive in the sense that it inspires the older, mature generation to take note of the little ones more carefully. And also for the fact that it encourages the survivors to speak up boldly about their experience.
In the middle of the reading of Payal’s book, I’d left it on the table when I went for a bath. My mother, not a voracious reader like me but someone who used to read a lot in her younger days, picked up the book and read almost half of it at one go. As a kindergarten coordinator and a person who works with young children day in and day out, she found the book deep and insightful.