Finding defects at the societal level or in the institutions created by us for the sake of our own interest and keeping checks and balances on them is fundamental to what humans have achieved as a species on the face of this planet and also in this universe until an another alien species is discovered which might have done equivalent achievements as a group on a planet or anywhere for that matter.
But what might be hidden and not so obvious in this whole grand belief of humans being able to achieve anything needs a serious introspection not only in the light of this pandemic and the aftermath but also even as a group of animals albeit intelligent who have been somehow surviving on the face of this planet till now.
Simple things like orientation towards a future possible occurrence has been one of the fundamentals of human survival not only as an individual but also as a group which helps humans ready themselves for simple things like changing seasons and also for other irregular sudden events like natural disasters.
But when looked at closely one can see that as a family (which is believed to be the basic unit of the society) most of such families are highly dysfunctional and sometimes outright dangerous for some of its members, and when such members are children then tragedy is ensured.
This pandemic exposes such facts outright threadbare but again the question is whether we can use this opportunity to correct it, if not it is same as what is with the health system as a whole (the defects which go uncorrected).
The family doctor is such an example. One can find from the news that there were many doctors who were living off the cars they used to drive to avoid injecting their family members. One such doctor who used to take care that the family shouldn’t be infected but had no option to skip working for a while faced serious issues back home leading to marital discord and a compromise for the next generation of children who will bear the consequences now.
This is the story of a doctor from the south who wanted to support one another life by marrying against the wishes of his parents to a girl from a backward state like Assam because he thought that would fulfill his desire to be in a sympathetic relation to her and also give some meaning for years spent serving in the state of Assam from a far away state in the south.
But the pandemic exposed many facts about his own wife who in the desperation of unbearable isolation during the pandemic couldn’t control her abusive nature against children and tried to vent her anger on husband towards children in the family by abusing them.
The doctor even after witnessing such actions kept silent but when the abuse was inflicted on the doctor himself and was indirectly aimed at the unborn child of his, he couldn’t bear it anymore and had to require the child from an abusive parent and become a single parent.
Unfortunately because Assam is a resource poor state and psychiatrists and psychologists are very hard to find for the help of such situations.
The problems may go uncorrected for a long time to come. Further, even if a professional help would be sought by the doctor himself, the spouse who is the one who abused the children would not go for it because of the stigma attached.
There are also other family members who may be complicit and would encourage such behaviours off avoiding professional help and lead on to normalisation off child abuse at home.
Though there is a structured professional way to assess child abuse and undergo counselling as individuals and also family members is essential and mandatory before such corrective actions set such dysfunctional members in the right path ahead, in contrast avoidance behaviour are a part of our families and its uneducated members who compound the problems and lead on to greater malaise not only for the children who suffer in the family but also for the society.
This attitude may harbour such dysfunctional people who are subconsciously and silently suffering people who may be ticking time bombs before they themselves start abusing others in some point in future unless corrected in time.
But to the dismay of the doctor, his wife refused to seek expert help even after the choice was given and went on to deny the facts.
She also denied the statements in relation to such abusive episodes she herself had given to the doctor. This is nothing but a situation wherein the doctor wants to save a person but the patients themselves want to die or remain in pain.
This is the reality of mental health in our country for a doctor and his family. We can as a logical extension draw conclusions about millions of other families across the county who may be in more dire conditions with respect to abuse against children and also other healthy members like the doctor himself who was called the so called “frontline warrior”.
But apart from fake appreciation and nonpayment of dues by employers in the name of pandemic and other clever excuses, doctors face double exploitation in such situations. They are also are witnessing the double standards of the society and to not expose it and remaining quiet would mean admitting to be stupid and also suffering the stupidity of others, and such behaviour by other society members and especially family members is outright insulting.
If the number of infected people in a pandemic itself was deceivingly and falsely published by the government and doctors continuously worked even under such appalling public health expertise of the country, then government was also responsible for the breakup of such families of doctors.
Parliament had passed many acts to protect the children from abuse, for example the POSCO act but if family members themselves normalise abuse how can a law deter violence against children? Just fake announcements on websites of political people that they have zero tolerance to POSCO violations isn’t enough, the root cause in the society must be unearthed and shown to the whole world that the most common abusers are family members themselves and need professional help in the form of counsellors and psychologists who will diagnose correctly in time and prevent further damage.
It must be clear now that strict laws and death penalty to offenders doesn’t get us anywhere near to a safe society for children and women, it’s the correction of the defect at the family level which will really make the difference.
What is important is not religion or culture, it’s science and professional and expert help in the form of mental health professionals who are in acute deficiency.