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Disclosure of bias: I am biased against mainstream schools as currently exist in India and think they do more harm than good. We need better schools and for reasons more than security.

This is the second murder in a Ryan International School. Last year, in February, a child was found drowned in the Ryan International School in Vasant Kunj. Now there is a child found stabbed to death in the Ryan International School in Gurgaon.

Very conveniently there is the confession of a murder on TV by a bus conductor. Soon, the predictable will happen. The bus conductor will be the villain. Lawyers are already refusing to represent him, which will always leave the question of whether he is taking the fall for someone else.

The questions not being asked are how after having one murder in the school, the safety of students was still lax enough for a murder to happen in the toilet of a school. It does not explain what a bus conductor was doing in the children's toilet to begin with to have the opportunity - if at all he is the murderer as he is confessing.

But more than that, it does not explain what children were doing in that school at all. Or, for that matter, any school. The Delhi Gang Rape used a school bus to commit a horrendous rape. The driver of the bus was ferrying children on a daily basis till caught. Much outrage had ensued. Much vanishing of who the owner of the bus was happened. Sheila Dixit made it mandatory for schools to run background checks.

What happened? When the child was found dead in the Ryan International School in Vasant Kunj, many excuses were made to shrug off responsibility like he had a habit of wandering. Seriously? A child had a habit of not being in class and wandering the school and no one found it odd enough to investigate or be alert for?

I wonder at the gullibility of parents who send children to school. In an age when we don't see a two hour film without reading a review or hearing word of mouth praise first, how is it that parents commit 10 years of a child's time without so much as asking whether it is necessary at all to spend 10 years to learn to read and write.

But that is the real thing. Schools are not a service to children, they are a service to parents - a service that gets the kid out of your hair for most of the day, and installs all the knowledge a "standard human being" should have as per a template. It has nothing to do with a child's needs. Nor does it have any ability to predict what knowledge a child will need to function in the world as an adult. Most of you who learned how to calculate square roots in school have never done it after leaving school. Most of you who mugged up names of random places in the world have never found use for that information as an adult. What a child does in school has nothing to do with a child's needs.

We recognize the vulnerability of children and think they are stupid, but have no hesitation sending them off to an environment which may not be safe on their own without us. I could easily get a high paying job instead of making do with working from home. The reason I don't is that my son can't speak. Till he isn't able to tell me about his day and complain if he had a problem, not a chance I'm leaving him to strangers in day-care. I have no intentions of allowing someone who could potentially be harming my child to speak for him. And when I say harm, I include so much as intimidating or insulting a child or subjecting them to the indignity of sarcasm and taunts. Let alone murder.

I must wonder at parents who can comfortably trust a school and not think further. When there is a rape or a murder, parents suddenly get all traumatized. Parents reading about it imagine their innocent child in that place, all broken and dead, they can't bear it. Many cry, can't get images out of their heads. But it isn't like they won't send their child to school or will go and land up in the school of their own child and demand to see the files with background checks on all the people working there to make sure that robust investigation of potential risks has indeed happened.

It isn't like if their child talks about a sarcastic or unpopular teacher in school, they land up demanding that teacher account for their actions or be taken out. How many of you, after the Delhi Gang rape insisted that all personnel on the campus of your own child's school be investigated? But offending people by thinking they are suspicious is so bad, no? Yet they provide an Aadhaar that tracks people as potential criminals by default.

How many did this after any instance of a child being found raped or murdered in school? This is just the capital of the country - a place where "people like us" send their kids. There are even more horror stories from schools in smaller towns, hostels for tribals. Government schools are a free for all - may the biggest bully call the shots. What will it take for parents to see that schools are NOT SAFE FOR CHILDREN? Or at the very least to demand a security audit? What will it take to see that schools are a business that targets parent satisfaction and not kids? What will it take for people to stand up for their own damn child instead of imagining them in every crime against children and getting all emotional, but doing nothing to protect?

I am a staunch proponent of homeschooling, but I accept that it may not be an option for many people who have jobs - for example or where there are ill people in the home needing considerable attention, leaving the adults too weary to participate in a child's learning. Or where the home enviornment may have abusive people around. Sure, schools can be a necessity for many. But I think it is high time their overinflated importance be evaluated too. If a school can't get your children fluent in basic knowledge and blames children for low scores, it is basically time and money invested with zero guarantee. And today, there is no guarantee that all the education in the world will result in a job anyway. Technology is developing so fast that assistive devices may take communication to the illiterate without ever requiring them to read or write in a few decades. What exactly is it that the school is being glorified for? Why is it that the need of sending a child to school at all can't be questioned? Why is it so hard that schools face robust scrutiny? You'd have a problem if your office peon or collegaue or even the CEO squeezed your boobs as he passed by, right? What will it take to ensure that extensive efforts are made to ensure that your child isn't going to be subjected to it? How the hell is it that parents simply meekly take a school's word for it - if at all they ask.

It won't be easy. Schools are already on tight budgets. Popular culture blurs age and sexuality encouraging perverts and normalizing behavior that should create alarm. Investigations and stepping up security is time consuming, expensive. Being screened would probably be taken as an insult by many teachers who feel entitled to lack of scrutiny. But it isn't impossible either. Without security, the most logical place for a pedophile to be in is a school. Where the ratio of vulnerable targets to potentially alert protective adults is exceptionally high - say unlike a park, stressed teachers getting through their duties on autopilot are not likely to notice things unless trained for it. How many schools train their staff in basic security concepts so that they may notice and investigate potential risks?

This is my question to you, parents. When are you going to shed this blind obedience to authority figures and demand that they are worthy of the trust you entrust them with? Does your child matter or not?

Because right now, the old Ryan International School murder is all but forgotten, and the new one is on its way out of our awareness. We forget, over and over the news that shows the threat to children. Untill next time.

What will it take for you to ensure to the best of YOUR capacity that your child is not on national news for the wrong reasons?


The Scroll has reported that the state government of Maharashtra has used a loophole created by the center in the National Food Security Act to subvert its recommendation of hot cooked meals for children between ages 3 and 6. Yet another signature move by a BJP government that kills several of their birds with a stone at the cost of citizens.

Children eating mid day meal
Children eating mid day meal. Photo:akshayapatra / Pixabay

This serves no purpose and represents a significant degradation of the quality of food provided to the children at ages when nourishment can make all the difference in their development. Packaged food cannot provide the nutrition freshly prepared food does. So what is essentially happening is another opportunity for contracts to private providers and bribes replacing government provisions. This time at the cost of children.

This will impact the livelihoods of small women's groups who provide freshly cooked food to schools. It will impose uniform foods in the place of diverse local cuisines. It will reduce quality without benefiting the state in any manner, while the corrupt skim off money from contracts. This wouldn't be the first time the government has tried to shut down smaller food manufacturers in favor of bigger industries. After all, it is the essentials that are profitable even when economy looks shaky. Food, gas, electricity, water... people can't afford to lose them no matter how broke they are and have to cut corners. And privatizing needs is where the biggest monopolies are consolidating.

In classic government doublespeak, tenders for the packaged food state that private manufacturers will be ineligible. The same tenders state requirements of advanced technology that no self-help group will own.... unless it is a front for large private packaged food manufacturers. In essence, the tender basically says that private manufacturers should apply with appropriate disguises and those who are supposedly helped need not apply.

I'm going to make one wild guess here. There will be some Guru/Baba businessman setting up some "charitable" organization to rake in this moolah. Or, of course, existing big packaged food manufacturers. Lots of big fish here and the small fish have no voice. Aadhaar, packaged food cronies.... just how many ways is the government going to deny children food? What are they going to do with this ill-gotten wealth and power?

akshayapatra / Pixabay

This is an attack on the livelihoods of small scale self-help groups who will lose out on the business of feeding children statewide at a time when rural India is already reeling under an agrarian crisis, the devastation of demonetization and a wipeout of savings made as livestock in cattle. It will funnel more money out of rural economies and into fat big industry manufacturers somewhere.

To what end? Does adding "micro-nutrients" really compensate for food that is rich in nutrient dense vegetables that don't preserve well? Would you feed your kids mostly fillers and flavors and a hint of nutrient additives that have never been proven to do anything useful?

The National Food Security Act stands undermined. It's excellent provision for hot, freshly cooked food for children discarded. For what? Would you prefer your child ate packaged food on a daily basis rather than simple well-cooked food by an organization of real women known locally who are often mothers themselves and aware that they are feeding children? Food you can go and check as needed instead of some esoteric packaging plant somewhere providing to the government (so we know how much they will focus on quality) that you are simply informed is "good"?

So why should an entire state be scammed into this? Who profits? Follow the money.

This is most definitely an issue of child rights as well as an attack on livelihoods of women in rural Maharashtra and if anyone is challenging this in a legal or political manner, let me know and I will support to the best of my ability.

How can officials exploit rag picker children to pick dead bodies from railway tracks? When I first read the news of a 12 year old rag picker boy forced to pick up a severed limb of a dead body on the railway tracks at Indore, I thought the newspaper had reprinted an old story of abuse. Near identical stories. But the devil is in the detail, this one is a repeat incident. Which makes me wonder if Indore Railway station has made a habit out of exploiting street kids for dirty work that the bloated government employees don't like. Like picking dead bodies.

Reproducing both stories here. You tell me, should Indore station be investigated for child torture?

This is the news in NDTV from today:

Indore: 12-year-old boy forced to pick up mutilated body from railway track

Indore:  A-12-year old boy was allegedly made to pick up a mutilated body part of a suicide victim from the railway track in Indore by the railway police officials.  A top level police investigation has been ordered into the case.

The men in uniform reached the tracks a little later after a labourer named Dhanraj reportedly threw himself in front of the train and committed suicide. One of the railway police officials reached the spot and waited for other team members. The  body lay on the track while other trains continued to pass over it.

Finally, the officials shifted the body from the track. However, a mutilated limb was left behind on the track. The officials then allegedly made a minor rag-picker do the job.

"The police asked me to pick up the mutilated body part. I refused but they pressured me," the boy said.

After this shocking incident was raised by the media, senior railway police officials sprung into action and a DSP level probe was ordered in the case.

Deputy Superintendent of Police GRP Mankamna Prasad told NDTV,"We have recorded statement of our officials but we are not able to trace the boy. Our team is looking for him. As soon as we record his statement I will submit the investigation report. If  officials are guilty we will make sure they face departmental exchange."

The State Commission for Protection of Child rights is closely monitoring the developments in this case, and will be seeking a report from the railway police on the issue and also the action they propose to take. The commission is worried about the minor who they fear may be psychologically affected by the incident.

Chairman of State Commission for Protection of Child rights told, NDTV,"This incident may instil a sense of fear in the mind of the boy which can affect him life long. So the child will need counselling. We will also order the SP to trace that boy and do the needful for him."

This is not the first time that such incident has been reported in Indore. Two years ago, a minor was asked to pick up body parts from the track. In that case, railways police officials were found guilty and also had to face punishment.

And this is the human rights abuse report from 2011:

Police force a child to gather severed human parts in Indore

ragpicker child forced to pick up dead body parts
A ragpicker child forced to pick up parts of dead body from the track at Indore railway station

Despicable it might be, yet it is a relatively irrelevant incident in India. The latest is the case of Firoz, a 12-year-old boy who is now reportedly suffering from serious psychological trauma after being forced by a Head Constable of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) to gather the severed remains of a human body run over by a train in Indore, Madhya Pradesh state. The incident happened on 26 September 2011 in full public view. According to the psychiatrist, Dr Ramghulam Razdan, Head of Department, Department of Psychiatry, at the MGM Medical College, who examined Firoz, the boy could be suffering from a "permanent phobic reaction" or that he has developed a "psychotic behaviour" as the direct result of his horrific experience. Firoz is reported to be a rag-picker boy, living in Indore, who initially refused to do the illegal job, but was forced to by the police constable, who also paid him Rs 100. DNA, an independent media group reported the incident on 1 October 2011.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is aware that this is not an isolated incident or an exception in any form in India, Madhya Pradesh in particular. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, Madhya Pradesh is on top in the list of states concerning crimes committed against children in the country.

The AHRC is also aware that the RPF and the state police regularly resort to similar illegal methods when they have to deal with dead bodies of persons run over by a train or in cases where the state police have to deal with persons found dead in unnatural circumstances. For instance, the state police in Tamilnadu often pay Rs 100 and offer a bottle of illegal liquor to children who are ordered to 'pack-up' unidentified and unclaimed dead bodies, often found in different stages of putrefaction.

Mr Louise, living in Pavitram village of Thiruvannamali district, who is now aged 20 years used to do this 'job' for the RPF. Louise was first forced to do the 'job' when he was 12-years-old. He continues to do so and today he is the person 'who handles the dead' in the village and has now made it his profession. The AHRC and its partner organisation in West Bengal state, MASUM have been reporting about how inhumanly dead bodies are handled in state-run mortuaries in that state. MASUM has documented dozens of cases in West Bengal, where it is a Dom - name of a particular Dalit community in India, who undertakes the 'autopsy examination' using crude tools, whereas the medical doctor would observe it from a distance. MASUM and the AHRC has also reported cases of dead bodies left unattended, putrefied and body parts eaten away by dogs and rats in government morgues in West Bengal. Despite the reportage, the state government has done nothing so far to improve the situation. Illegal it might be for the authorities to engage a boy or a private person to deal with a dead body in what is in essence a crime scene or a scientific examination. But in India, this is how things are.

Lack of discipline and dereliction to duty that is often condoned by the superiors in the law enforcement agencies; relative absence of accountability; lack of skills and equipments; and the overall belief of impurity associated with dealing with dead bodies often based on caste beliefs along with the practical convenience for the police of having not to physically deal with the dead are the reasons why such practices exist in India today. In essence, Firoz is one more victim of the systemic culture of neglect, lack of accountability and the resultant culture of impunity omnipresent within the law enforcement agencies in the country. In that the Head Constable who forced Firoz to do this despicable job and paid him for it had been acting quite naturally and normally as far as India is concerned.

Shocking the incident might be, yet it must not be a surprise to anyone in India. Take for instance the Indian Railway itself. Despite the country having developed nuclear weapons and scheduled to declare itself as 'developed' by 2020, the Indian Railways is the single largest network of open toilet on wheels in the world.

Human faeces, sprayed on rails and rail sleepers (cross-tie), is a common sight in every railway station and on every inch of the rail network in the country, which is the largest in the world. In that, the Indian Railway still is to realise that there is something called a 'closed closet' technology invented and used widely in the world today, that toilets inside transport vehicles do not cause a hygiene hazard to the public. The concern for the Indian Railways for the ordinary people including its own employees is most visible once again at railway stations where manual scavengers, clean with a broom, human faeces from the rails. In that, the Indian Railway is the single largest employer of manual scavengers in the world - often recruited from the Dalit community and railway stations are the largest open toilets in the country. One of worst predicaments of the Dalits in India is indeed the practice of manual scavenging, repeatedly documented by rights groups, but equally denied by the Government of India.

It is reported that when several people who witnessed the brutal and inhuman predicament of Firoz, complained about it to the RPF, the RPF suspend the Head Constable from service pending inquiry and transferred five other officers. From experience, about the manner in which dereliction of duty is dealt within the law enforcement agencies in India, it has to be assumed that the only reaction by the authorities concerning this incident would be just this transfer and the temporary suspension of the Head Constable.

The reaction by Firoz when he learned that complaints have been made regarding the incident is to flee from home. Understandably this is the best a poor person in India could do, if the person becomes the cause for 'trouble' to a police officer - run, as far as possible, beyond the reach of the officer! It is reported that Firoz fled to a place called Omkareshwar, about 85 kilometres away from Indore fearing that the Head Constable would come for his blood.

Given the manner in which complaints are dealt with in India, it is possible that the Head Constable produces - and if there is an inquiry, it concludes - that Firoz did the job, on his own volition. The RPF might also produce Firoz's signed statement in support for such a defence and statements of similar rag-picker boys, or probably of a shopkeeper and a few other 'chance witnesses'.

Madhya Pradesh state has a Child Welfare Committee. It needs to be seen whether the Committee would take any sensible action upon this case. At the very least, will the Child Welfare Officer, having jurisdiction upon the police station where the incident happened, would take any action on this case?

There would not be an inquiry how and why the Head Constable picked a rag-picker boy to do his job. None would bother to ask how a rag-picker boy becomes so vulnerable to brute exploitation by the very same officer who is also paid to prevent it. It will be nobody's worry why there are so many children in Indore and other cities in India, who make a living picking rags and climbing over piles of trash when they should be at school? None would try to contact the Madhya Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights having its office in Bhopal and dare speak to its Chairperson and former Judge of Madhya Pradesh High Court, about what could the Commission do in the present case, and further for the poor and destitute children of the state.

While this statement is being read, there would be several other ill-fated children like Firoz, who are either forced to do similar jobs for a living or for fear of torture; or trafficked along the length and breadth of the country or trying to curl down with empty stomachs since their parents are unable to find them a meal at least once a week. Yet, India repeatedly hear the hollow rhetoric that the country's children are its asset and the country's investment for the future.

The question is, would children like Firoz count in that account?

Those who wish to react to this statement kindly contact:

1. Director General of Police, Madhya Pradesh
Telephone: + 91 755 2443500
Fax + 91 755 2443501
Email: dgp@mppolice.gov.in

2. District Collector, Indore
Telephone + 91 755 2449111
Fax + 91 755 2449114
Email: dmindore@nic.in

3. District Superintendent of Police, Indore
Telephone + 91 755 2525600 / 2711000

3. Chairperson
Madhya Pradesh State Human Rights Commission
Telephone + 91 755 2571935 / 2424311
Fax: 91 755 2551429

4. Chairperson
Madhya Pradesh State commission for the Protection of Child Rights
Telephone + 91 755 2559903
Fax: 0755-2559900
Email: mpcpcr@gmail.com

# # #

About Vikas Samvad: Vikas Samvad is a human rights/media group and AHRC's partner working in Madhya Pradesh. The office of Vikas Samvad is at Bhopal and their work could be accessed at www.mediaforrights.org

Picture courtesy: Daily News and Analysis www.dnaindia.com

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I am glad they took up the subject of Child Sexual Abuse today on Satyamev Jayate. However, today's episode left me vaguely dissatisfied. The uncompromising truth seeking of the previous episode seemed missing. It was good to see adult victims of child sexual abuse, but obviously, they were no longer children, and their having come to terms with their history, or been permanently scarred was more about adults with a history of child sexual abuse than children. The child's perspective, which was possible, was missing. Not necessarily through interviewing children, but even by showing the all encompassing scope of the problem. For example, the show seems to consider parents or teachers as safe people. Newspapers tell us that it is not so. At other times, a child's protector may be socially handicapped to help. For example a mother in an abusive family. Then there is Child Sexual Abuse perpetrated by older children. Consider the abduction, rape, imprisonment and starvation of the girl from Malad last year.

While I don't want to sound fatalistic, some amount of darkness becomes inevitable when you have 53% of children who have suffered from sexual abuse at some point. The show failed to explore the magnitude of the problem in my view. There were a lot of black and white stereotypes, which are not necessarily true with Child Sexual Abuse. For example:

  • Child Sexual Abusers can also be "safe" people like parents, teachers or school principal, though the clear talk that a doctor shouldn't be touching them privately without parent present was welcome.
  • The impression that a Child Sexual Abuser is an adult - is not necessarily true. They can also be school bullies or older children
  • The impression that Child Sexual Abuse happens with children staying with their families is the tip of the iceberg. Boarding schools, trafficked children for begging, slavery, prostitution, for example, or the role of traditions or religions - temple girls, pedophilia by religious figures, cultural sanction to using boys for sexual abuse among some communities... Those are kids let down by every protector you could imagine. There are many things that people can resist in the world around them if they know to look for and confront them.

I did not like the idea of labeling parts of the child's own body as dangerous. Such thinking is also at the root of a lot of sexual inhibitions in adults - the idea that a part of their body is dirty, dangerous, forbidden, etc.... It is the abuser's action that is dangerous and this must be clear to children. For example, a person who has touched them inappropriately continuing to rub their arms when asked to stop is not safe either. Also the fear factor that comes with danger leads to paralysis. Would have been more useful to assert that the child's body is their own and they have the right to grant or refuse touch. If a touch makes them uncomfortable, they have the right to forbid it and draw attention, escape, confide in their "bodyguard" etc. This would also help children confront other abuse like hitting, for example. A more empowering way of looking at it by putting the power of rights over their body squarely in the hands of the child, would go a long way in helping combat the helplessness of being in a potentially (or actually) abusive situation.

Other grey areas like what happens in an ambiguous situation? Where an adult's touch may have an innocent intent, but feels invasive to the child? It is important to clarify the need to ask the adult to back off anyway and make it clear that their affection (or whatever) is not perceived by the child in the way they intend. Failing that, there is a whole playground for perverts to claim innocence and bank on the child's inability to detail the situation as abusive.

There should have been more attention to pre-verbal children or children with mental or physical disabilities that make them unable to narrate their experience to ask for help. The need to monitor them closely, because they cannot tell. Including one of the parents staying home to take care of the child in the absence of absolutely trustworthy support or occasionally monitoring the child's environment in their absence through say a hidden camera or wiring them for sound, if needed.

There also was relatively less attention to older children. Statistics say that the incidence of Child Sexual Abuse is highest among children 10 years and older, peaking around 15 years. Do we consider these to be "adult" and "consenting" like the pedophiles that the sexual danger that comes with visible physical maturity was ignored altogether?

There was data from only one study used. There are statistics on the NCRB website, for example, lots of research on Child Sexual Abuse in other countries and such. This should have been used to create a fuller picture.

There should have been a better look at the lack of laws. What are laws in other countries, details of the proposed bill, etc. Successful prosecutions or failures from other countries or India, for example would bring the realities to the front.

All in all, I got the feel of push button activism from this episode. Here is a possible problem, if you encounter it, push this button. Send an SMS to get a law that will bring about justice. Nirvana. The Hindi filmi happy ending feel, when the reality is far more grim. While I absolutely adore Harrish Iyer and loved seeing his mom, and the faces of the victims brought realism, the overwhelming takeaway from the show was people rather than information. It seemed to lack the meticulous research and diversity of the previous episode on Female Foeticide.

All this said, the show is still something I am grateful for, because it is most certainly better than nothing. If people start thinking of these things, it is a beginning, and hopefully they will also join the dots on their own.


Questioning the lack of age appropriate parenting and its impact on children as inadvertently sexually provocative behavior.

There is a kind of social, emotional abandonment of childhood itself, which I see as a growing phenomenon of our "modernity". Recently, I had argued on a group forum about the lack of really good children's films, and children's talent shows having children perform dances to very adult themes including emotions they are unlikely to have experienced in any way that does justice to the performance as art. Sexual attraction, betrayal, for example. A parent was very angry with me for calling this an example of neglect and said that her child LIKED and CHOSE to dance to those songs.

I beg to differ. Increasingly, busy parents have no time for childish things. Many will put on a cartoon on TV for kids to watch, but not sit with them to enjoy it. Many parents want to do intelligent things with children and ask them to play childish games with friends. Spending time together inherently has started requiring children to understand adult tastes to hold interest or be abandoned to their own devices. Choices influenced by these should not be seen as an interest in the content so much as an interest in holding the interest of loved adults.

Another way of looking at it is that sex repressed adults find unconscious enjoyment in sexual freedom being enacted publicly and freely. At the same time, their sexuality is so repressed, that they see nothing wrong with children dancing pelvic thrusts, because their own pelvic thrusts aren't sexual either, in their awareness.

A friend recently shared an outrageous situation. She said that the children being role modeled "sexy" all the time with few examples of self-respect or asserting personal boundaries, may have led many children to act in a seductive manner, which can give mixed messages to others - in the sense of implying consent.

She gave the example of her daughter's friend who was 11 years old, had not hit puberty and showed little sexual awareness, but wore, clingy, feminine clothes that were designed along the lines for more adult women in the sense of drawing attention to the body in a sexual manner - clothing many adult women would hesitate to wear too - she described strategic transparency, frills that would have framed a cleavage if she had one, but flopped meaninglessly on a flat chest, short skirts that flashed knickers all the time - while the girl herself was a tomboy and very friendly, but not necessarily in a sexual way - she was simply too young yet.

My friend said she constantly worried that a hormonal teenager or lecherous adult would read or choose to label the mixed messages wrong and lead to undesirable sexual consequences. The surprise is that the girl's mother, who wears salwar kameez and saris almost like a uniform is making these purchases for her daughter, saying that "she's a kid, let her enjoy now while she can wear exposing clothes". This is so warped on so many levels.... Freud would have a party with this. Many parents seem to live their desires of sexual freedoms through what they get their kids to do. Which, in my view is plain sick.

She is no prude, I am no prude, but I understood her to be saying that while there is nothing wrong about sexual attraction, children are rarely very self aware, and the friendly inputs from an adult can help them understand how they present themselves. It is a part of growing up. I agree with my friend that if the girl chose to wear clothes that flaunted sexuality, it was her choice, but if it was an unintended thing, then she was likely to be caught unaware by its impact on people and in either case, an adult ought to have been keeping a protective eye over her to ensure that her desire (if she chose) for freedom was not exploited. This, in my view is neglect on the part of a parent. The lack of that guiding into the world by showing meanings to things that may not have been noticed or intended. Children don't need to learn the hard way.

I call openly for sexual liberalization and acceptance of sexuality as a natural part of growth. However, what this girl's mother is doing isn't freedom, this is abandonment and possibly endangerment. When you set children free, as a responsible parent, your job multiplies exponentially, because the idea isn't to let them run wild and fall over cliffs, but for them to spread their wings safely with loving adults watching out for them, partnering them in their discovery of the world.

I brought this example up, because victimization of children gets spoken of a lot, but there is little talk about abdication of protective responsibilities of parents. We choose to ignore these things. This sexualization of children that is a social phenomenon, unless there is a rape, then we protest it. There is also little talk of the sexualization of children overall - for example, the mother may have purchased those clothes, but they are available in kids sizes in shops everywhere. Black net stockings for a girl to play in the garden? Gimme a break!