Can there be a world where each and every child is safe and there is no such thing as child assault?
Last two months have been about researching a good nursery and playgroup for my two-year-old daughter. What I am looking for is pretty simple. A big open playground, lots of free play and child-led activities and friendly/caring staff. Seems simple right?
Not so much until I made a visit to this 4.5 * rated nursery close to my house. It was a nursery viewing appointment and like most parents I was observing the facility, debating in my head as to why this suits me more than the ones I had visited earlier.
Just then I saw their male chef in the kitchen and the manager introduced me to him saying “He is our chef & is responsible for food and the kitchen. All our meals are made from scratch and we do take a serious note of your dietary requirements. You can ask him any questions if you have”.
I think the manager read the nervous expressions on my face and went on to reassure saying ‘’ all our staff are DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checked’’, which means there is no criminal record against them and are of good character.
Honestly, it just takes a bad day, frustrating emotions and one innocent vulnerable child to transform this DBS cleared individual into someone dangerous. And wouldn’t you agree that these perpetrators are one amongst us, they are not any different and don’t appear so. They are out there hiding amongst the masses and trying to assert their male dominance in whichever harmful way they can. I had no questions for him but so many of them for myself and for the little girls who come here in the name of learning.
Battling the many concerns that were popping up in my head, I kept thinking:
- What if this person tries to abuse my daughter someday?
- What if due to some reason/due to neglect she enters the kitchen and is left alone with this man for a few minutes?
- What if he is around during nappy changes/toilet training and is just waiting for his chance to abuse these little children who blindly trust the carers around them and who they believe are their eyes, ears and watchdogs?
- What if I get late to pick her up on an uneventful day when most caretakers are not around and this perpetrator is waiting for a chance to vent his frustration and the staff instead of revealing and explaining to me stands up with this man and tries to hide his misconduct?
A bad reputation can be catastrophic; after all, they are running a business and who would want to jinx their reputation and risk their hefty incomes.
Of course, child protection is their mandate on papers and having policies and procedures around child safety does give parents that extra confidence to leave their most precious ones, a piece of their heart with them.
For now, I am not concluding anything from a visit to this place except that I’d like to stick to my protective motherhood instinct and that my daughter will not be joining this nursery. I am not saying that any such incident has happened in the past here nor am I judging this particular man or his character but being a mom to a girl child and having read, seen and been terrified of so many inhumane child assault incidents, I don’t have the courage or the heart to take this leap.
I understand what I did here in this situation is not a workable solution and only a workaround. I also know tomorrow there will be situations when I will have no option but to deal with having men (in the form of coach/drivers/ helpers or tutors) around her.
However, in this morally bankrupt world, I just hope and pray that all these girls stay safe, protected and shielded from this silent epidemic called ‘Child Abuse’.
Have any of you moms been in a similar situation and feared the worst? Talk to us in comments and tell us how do you do your due diligence in such situations.