Speakers at an awareness programme on 'Child abuse' held at Calangute on Saturday expressed the view that today it has become unsafe for girl students to go to a school.
"We have lost our sense of moral values," according to Maria Sequeira, health officer of the Candolim PHC, "and we have allowed material values to dominate us." She said that even animals have a better system of caring for their offspring than human beings.
Bro Apolita D'Souza, principal of St Joseph's school, where the function was held, said parents tend to wash their hands off from the responsibility of caring for their children once they're off to school. "Sometimes we take things for granted, that our children have gone to school and it's the responsibility of the school to look after the child. If something happens to the child and the police are unable to catch the culprit, then everybody points fingers at the police. We always point fingers at others and wash our hands off the common responsibility," he said.
Ashley Gomes, who runs a pre-primary school, said the Vasco incident has sent shivers down the spine of all parents in Goa. Calangute PI Nolasco Raposo, who was a teacher before joining the police force, said, "Goa has seen a rise in cases of child abuse. People expect quick results. Students are a vulnerable section of society. We must give the child confidence. We don't give enough time for our children."
Clinical psychologist Anita Karambolkar, questioned whether the young children present at the programme could really understand what child sexual abuse meant, and went on to question many of the set assumptions of the parents at the meeting. "We need to change the way we think," she told the gathering.
Calangute MLA Michael Lobo, who was the chief guest, said that the Goa Panchayat Mahila Shakti Abhiyan, which had organized the programme, should be given more responsibility to deal with issues like this. [TOI]