Child abuse: What's next?
Posted April 1, 2005
First of all I would like to express all my sympathy to those boys and girls now men and women who suffered any type of physical abuse with the excuse of discipline. My feelings go as well to those who were sexually tormented. All my love goes to them.
I read with horror all the articles published on this site. I obviously hope that justice will be done for them from a legal point of view. However, there is some justice that neither law nor compensation can do. It is well known that the majority of child abusers have been themselves abused in their childhood or youth. So when they are as adults in difficult situations dealing with minors, the only way they instinctively deal is by applying the same abuse that was inflicted to them. It is precisely on this point that I would like to address ex-gurukulis here.
The articles that I read express that the victims feel sad, angry, frustrated, disgusted and that they want justice to be done. I am sure that it will be so and that they will find some relief. However, I would like to ask all these ex-gurukulis to take this calamity a step further. As difficult as it can be I would like them, if I may, to reflect on the implications of the abuse that they suffered for future generations. In addition to legal justice, it is important that they do justice to themselves and that they do their own internal healing process. Some of them may be having some professional help in this regard but most importantly they need to make sure that what happened to them does not happen again. This is for their own good, for the benefit of the children that they will encounter in future, including their own, and for the profit of society in general. By expressing love and understanding to the youngsters that they encounter in their every day life, they will heal and they should find that they will no longer feel a victim. They will be able to see the whole terrible episode with some perspective.
In the UK, where I qualified as a teacher we are taught to manage classes of difficult pupils. I do not believe that any of the ex-gurukuli victims were as difficult as some children in regular schools may be. Nevertheless we are trained specifically on this subject. It is absolutely forbidden for school staff to have any physical contact with any pupil under any circumstance. Not even a gentle hand on a shoulder when they did well or to make a queue move faster. Therefore ex-gurukuli victims can see and tell themselves that those people who were given the role of educators in ISKON and who abused them were no educators. They are people with psychological syndromes themselves and most probably with no educational diplomas or professional background. Those abusers were most likely just people who wanted to work in the gurukula clearly for the wrong reasons and unfortunately such positions of educators were given to them.
As a teacher, I would tell any of the victims who suffered abuse that the worst insult that any pupil can give a teacher is to show or tell him/her that they did not teach anything to them and that whatever they tried to teach, the pupil did not take it on board because it was useless and contaminated. Furthermore I will tell all our victims that the best way to say that is by letting their abusers know that despite having being abused, they have become lovely people who are dealing with love and protection towards other youngsters that they encounter and particularly that they are committed to stop the chain of abuse that the abusers were not able to stop. May I finally ask those ex-gurukulis please do not look at what is happening with their abuserŐs individual life nowadays. Just focus on taking the abuse that they suffer further by stopping it. I would ask them again to take this as their goal and mission in order to recover themselves and to bring something very valuable and needed in society - education by love and respect. God bless all our victims in their lives.
Karuna Purna d.d.