Disclaimer: Please note that the opinions expressed in this blog are of the author alone and do not represent DND in any way.
Hope is a very powerful thing for anyone but for a person suffering from self pity, remorse, guilt or even sentiments of self loathing; it often defines the fine line between getting up in the morning or ending it right then and there. A sliver of hope is certainly what many people who were abused as children felt when they shared their story on the Facebook page: Talk Dammit!
Talk Dammit was a Facebook page which was made to basically provide a platform for people to share their excruciating ordeals with the people from anonymity to shatter the notion that pedophilia was only something western societies dealt with. The stories shared came from real people who had suffered to great extents in silence for years. These were the people who wanted to warn others but due to the fear of being a stigma in our society, always kept quiet. The initiative was started by a single individual by the name of Faizan after the whole Sialkot Child Pornography incident came to light. The page had a simple yet effective tag line: “Talk, so the next child can be saved.” and aimed to open conversation among the Pakistani people to finally come out of their cocoons. The page basically took the first step in solving the problem: making people realize that there was a problem.
So, why are we covering this now and why are we using the past tense for such a noble cause? Well, as of last week, the page has gone through some stuff that has left the owner to do some serious rethinking. It has led from people supporting Mr. Faizan to people actually threatening him or even going as far as to humiliate him in every way possible. The story began with a single girl (who I won’t name in this post as I don’t have the consent) who described how she was molested as a child by her father. The story detailed each and every gruesome thing she said she had to experience and how she even was impregnated by the man who had given her life. Quite frankly, it certainly was one of the most gruesome works of non-fiction I had ever read and that is counting the in detailed war crimes reports which I have had the non-pleasure to read. Simply put, the story portrayed how sometimes humans are the worst beings to exist on this planet. This however, was not the end of the whole thing as upon her consent, the girl did reveal her true name which led to a witch hunt for her father.
One whole day passed and the witch hunt continued. The page which was made to open dialogue had turned into a mob thirsty for blood and it was during this time, the girl’s story was taken down. The reason released simply stated that the girl was a schizophrenic as told to the owner of the page by more than one psychiatrists who had treated her, the post went on to apologize to the family of the girl for any problems it might have caused. It was in this very post the page announced that it will be taking a hiatus break in which the page’s vetting policy would be rethought.
As with any mob, the release of this statement led to people being separated into two groups. One sided with the owner stating as he had no way of vetting the story, the girl may very well be suffering from the delusional disease. The other side, which was unsurprisingly in the majority, sided with the girl stating that it was simply her father’s ploy to challenge her mental health to get away with his dastardly deeds.
Now, I can sit here and take sides as well but that’s not something I am willing to do. I am not an expert in mental health and neither am I someone who is too great with ethical dilemmas. The story was conveyed to Mr. Faizan and he was ethically obligated to share it with the people as he had promised. The teller wanted to reveal her name; again this was something he had no control over. The question now remains: was what the psychiatrist saying true? The answer is quite clearly: I DO NOT know. I am not an expert in mental diseases and I sure as heck am not going to act like one. The few experts I did talk to also had mixed opinions about the whole matter. Even they weren’t sure as they had not talked directly with the girl, her father or anyone else. The page owner on the other hand has more than a few witnesses ranging from friends, medical professionals and the not-to-be-trusted family members who state otherwise.
So, why are we even talking about this? Well, it is our job to deliver the news and not make it up. We don’t make facts up and till a credible source proves otherwise, we have to report the facts we do have. The facts here are: Could he have had done a background check? Quite possibly but this is after all a youngster with very limited resources we are talking about. This is something he could never foresee. In fact, at this time I want you all to sit down, and ask yourself, if you were in his shoes what would you had done? Before you answer, let me remind you: you weren’t, so no matter what you decide, it doesn’t matter! So, could he have left the story up? He could but that would have quite possibly resulted in a legal action against not only the page but him as well. I know that when you run for a noble cause, you don’t care about the consequences but this story did incite a witch hunt which was something the page had strictly stated it was against since the first story it published. The page had also stated that it would stand by the victims, which is something it isn’t doing. Which leads me to my final point: I do understand why people are so furious and I can certainly understand an infinitesimal small amount of the pain that girl must be going through, God knows I never wish what she went through (true or not) on my worst enemy but things certainly need to be calmed down. We still need to remember the bigger picture and that is to finally open up a dialogue and educate our kids about such matters in hopes to protect them. They are the ones we are doing this for; they are the ones whose smiles and innocence we are trying to protect.