By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai–Ganesh Nallari, a sexually abused child, is now a well-settled artiste and painter, at peace with his traumatic past .
In a documentary entitled “UnSpoken” Ganesh speaks on what it means to be a victim of sexual abuse and how to beat the demons that threaten to destroy the violated human being’s very essence of existence.
Excerpts from an interview in which he relives his horrific past and celebrates his peaceful present.
Q: Your short film “Unspoken” is a mirror of your own fears and insecurities…What prompted you to make this film?
A: I wanted to become someone worthy before I spoke about my childhood trauma, so that I can give strength to all the survivors and empower them through my film. If I can make it, so can they! We often talk and read about the dos and don’t for children and parenting but not much has been done for the adult survivors who still live in denial and find it difficult to confront their past. People don’t take mental health seriously as much as they run to a doctor when they have a physical wound.
Q: Have you confronted the man who abused your innocence and scarred you for life? Why have you not exposed him? By keeping mum, haven’t you encouraged potential violators of children’s innocence?
A: I confronted my abuser on his deathbed only to forgive him. I had to forgive him for my own self; I did not want to live with that burden all my life. I had to let go to move forward. I had stopped talking to him for years, from that day when I screamed my NO.
Q: What made you suffer the pain and agony for so many years and what made you come out with it?
A: My life began at 17, I was focusing on recreating myself. Moving away from familiarity of the place and extended family. I’m the only child for my parents and they have been supportive, I do not want them to feel guilty about this one particular thing.
Q: How do we deal with the increasing number of sexual predators, many of them at home?What precautions do you prescribe to safeguard children?
A:When you first think of child abuse, you only get the image of the child. But today when I stop and think about it some more I realize that the ripple effects of the heinous act are far -reaching. The parents are also victims. The family bond that is irreversibly altered is a victim. As the child grows up and becomes integrated into the society, the friends are also in some way effected and therefore victims. The entire society becomes a victim for these reprehensible acts.
Q: So what precautions can we take to ensure our kids’ safety?
A:Society needs to be aware. It has to be a united effort to prevent this. The teachers, the extended family, the parents …. everyone who plays a part in the child’s life needs to be intimately familiar with the markers of abuse. And they need to be vigilant. Everyone is responsible for a child’s safety. Not just the parents. Often they are the last to know. It’s a cruel and yet all to common reality because the abuser is so often a trusted member of the inner circle of the family.Society needs to stop making it a cause. It needs to be an ever-present reality in everyone’s life. It is imperative that we are aware and vigilant all the time and we have to support the survivors and everyone else in their lives that are affected by this in one way or the other. It’s not and can never be – just a cause. It’s not. It’s a harsh ground reality for society as a whole.
Q: What is your message for children and adults who have been abused?
A: I am honest about everything I do and that’s what I have shown in my film. From the dark past to the present all I have been doing is indulging myself in various forms of art, creating multiple identities. I narrated this story through a painting because it came naturally to me, ever since I can remember, as a child, I turned my pain into something beautiful through dance and painting.