Namrata Mishra is an iconic woman who wears courage on her sleeves. An advocate by profession, she has whole-heartedly dedicated her life to stand against the cause of child sexual abuse. Her blood boils when she hears incidents of physical or emotional atrocities inflicted upon any human being. She finds boundless contentment in securing people out from the dark pits of sinful life. She believes that there is a ‘man’ in every woman in terms of being valiant.
It is rightly said that “The world suffers a lot not because of the violence of bad people but the silence of good people”. She has been passionately extending her knowledge of law and experience to create mass social awareness about the prevention of Child Sexual Abuse since last seven years. The extent of dedication is such that she has reached 1,00,000+ people so far and still considers it less.
Here is a brief interview with a lady with the mettle- Namrata Mishra.
Q1. You have completely dedicated your life towards the cause of the abuse to the mankind specifically child abuse. Should we consider that you have suffered the same as a child? Or is there something else which inspired you for the cause?
Ans 1. It is not that ‘the wounded recognized the wounded’ rather it is the agony I felt around that I am pursuing this cause. It saddens me that the crime against children has increased phenomenally over the last decade. Every one in five children is being abused. People lack awareness about the menace of Child Sexual Abuse and its detrimental side-effects and long-lasting consequences. Hence I pledge to teach as many children as I can against the cause.
About inspiration (pauses), honestly speaking, since my childhood, I was a keen observer and loved communicating with people. I always wanted to be the voice of the people. I am blessed to have strong pillars in my life in the form of my father, my father-in-law , mommy-in-law and my husband. I owe my gratitude to various NGOs who invite me to give expert talks every now and then on the sensitive issues.
Moreover, My heart goes out for the vulnerable sections, who can’t speak for themselves.
Q2. Do you feel that the education has strengthened your cause? I came to know that you have designed some courses for different age groups and even some well designed study material too. I insist that you tell us more on this.
A2. A BIG yes! It’s indeed a boon that I have chosen law as a profession! My education and the fight for the cause are like hands in gloves. My core knowledge about laws and specialization in the field has always helped me in setting benchmarks and stand apart in the crowd.
I have created age appropriate courses and awareness resource materials for children from age-group 2+ to 18 years. And yes, there are animated videos through which this complicated and sensible topic is explained in a light manner. I have even designed colouring picture books on the theme of ‘Safe touch, Unsafe Touch’. These art books work in a basic and simplified manner and educate the young ones to defense themselves.
Today, I am acknowledged as an expert trainer and speaker on POCSO law. Apart from that, I am also a proponent of CSA (Child Sexual Abuse) awareness and child rights in my country.
Q3. Our readers would love to know a little about your professional life.
A3. I always intended to do something meaningful for the society. When I look back to where and how I started, I feel blessed that I have come this far. I have been focusing to attain formal education and training to support my cause.
In a roller coaster life of mine, I have worked as a successful corporate advocate in one of the top Law firms of America and even worked part time for Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) and Company law.
I am privileged to be the only woman independent legal professional from western Uttar Pradesh to be a member of International Bar Association, United Kingdom.
I am the co-founder and Director, Legal of this e-learning company Renaissance e-Services Private Ltd which presently caters to over 60+ countries worldwide. It has branches in the United Kingdom, Mumbai and Agra.
Q4. You have been closely working against the child abuse. Please throw some light on the causes and effects of this rising issue?
A4. Child abuse issue is like a termite in our society and it not only breeds on the person who suffers but also swallows away the entire existence of the same. Just like a junk, it makes one handicapped emotionally, physically and psychologically. I have seen intense cases where survivors are scarred and disheveled throughout their life. To talk about the sufferings or the abuse is a taboo. People lock their lips on the issue, let alone the cure part.
“She is a prisoner of her childhood, attempting to create a new life, she re-encounters the trauma”- Judith Lewis Herman.
As per NCRB (National Crime Record Bureau), the abusers are from within the close circle and in position of trust with the child.
As per Dave Pelzer “Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul.”
Shilpa ji, it is so sinful act and the sad part is that the abusers have no shame. I have seen the traumatic and horrifying situations of the victims. The survivors go against the nature and there is an overflow of mistrust in their nature. They indulge in imbalanced thoughts and encircle themselves to a nested and closed environment. They live with the guilt, shame and depression throughout their lives.
Q5. Namrata, I have never met a person who is so compassionate to selflessly work towards humanity. You find pride and joy in enlightening people through your knowledge and counseling. In this philanthropic journey of yours, what are the factors that supported your cause?
A5. You might have heard ‘The journey of a thousand miles start with a single step-Lao Tzu.’ I might have stepped on but there are miles to go. I am so blessed to find generous people who not only supported the cause but also gave me a strong backup.
I am proud to announce that I was selected as the Global Goodwill Ambassador, India (GGA) on 9th January 2019 by a USA based organization for my outstanding contribution in spreading mass awareness on prevention of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), Child Safety, Child Rights, POCSO legislation, Gender discrimination, Boy’s sensitization, Women rights and Women empowerment in India.
I have been closely working with the ‘Chaanv campaign’ inaugurated by Mrs. Manisha Sinha, PMG, Agra region, Dept. of Post Office, Govt. of India, New Delhi.
A social experiment on reporting this social crime has been carried out by me, which is known as ‘POCSO SAFETY BOX’. Through this box, the abused child or the child who is subjected to violence at home/school can write and post about the crime happening with him/her without disclosing the identity. We then provide all possible help and support to the complainant.
I find POCSO law as a brilliant legislation with stringent provisions to ensure justice to innocent children. If implemented in full swing, the law has the potential to curb all the forms of misdemeanors done to the most vulnerable segments of our society- our children.
Q6. Social sins take birth within our surroundings secretly and we acknowledge it too late. There has been mystery cases, unsolved cases, hidden and explored cases too when it comes to child abuse. Can you tell us how effective are the counselling sessions? Or should it always be just Law?
A6. Law is utterly important to leave imprints of fear factor in the minds. And implication of law is duly important. But the counselling comes as a first hand check. Not only that, it allows one to mold its bad intentions or if one is being targeted, it keeps you alarmed and psychologically strong to fight back. You just start speaking from your heart the daring voice of “Enough is Enough”!
Q7. I request you to share some incidents or case studies with us so that the readers can correlate and refer you for counselling when in need.
A7. I would surely share the positive effects of the counselling and workshops so that the misconception of not talking about the topic is discouraged. Awareness will only come once acceptance is there.
Here are few case studies and believe me it feels great to secure them from the hair raising issues.
I visited a primary school of Agra for the training session wherein teachers showed their concern over a boy’s case who was 8 years old. The boy used to be in good books of teachers and suddenly lost his interest in studies. When we tried to have a conversation with him, we came to know that his chacha was abusing him. To our surprise, when we communicated to parents, they were adamant. After a lot of persuasion, after observations, they asked chacha to stay away from the child. The child is gradually recovering from the trauma.
After I conducted Child Sexual Abuse training in an all boys school of a city based school in Agra, one teacher put forward an alarming case. She had found two boys kissing in the bathroom few days ago. When I intervened and had an opportunity to talk to the two little kids, they very shyly admitted that their elder brother and his friend force them to watch “dirty movie” in their computer when the parents are away. We immediately informed the parents and they questioned their elder son, who is a teenager and made him realize the gravity of his act and are now keeping a strict eye on his behaviour and actions. These two young boys are being counselled as well…
It happened in the year 2017, a Grade 2 girl child of a very prestigious school of Agra, used to commute by bus. Her bus assistant used to take the child pretending that he is taking her for a face wash. Instead, he used to kiss her and touch the body parts. Once, mother caught him red handed as they happened to come to the school to pick her child herself. She informed the school about the incident and the school did an investigation and suspended the bus assistant. Not only this, the school held a special awareness session with the parents of the school and I was invited as an expert speaker in the topic. I am proud to announce that the school has implemented all the required policies/ measures to ensure safety and security of its students and has also appointed a school counselor after my awareness talk.
I was on an awareness session in Gujarat based school in 2016 for the students of 9th to 12th graders about Bullying and POCSO awareness. While the session was at its perk, A child broke down. I along with the class teacher tried to counsel him and we were shocked to find that he was being assaulted by the home tutor. Moreover, he used to threaten him too for not revealing it to anyone. On our advise to parents, they took strict action. Consequently, the tutor has been nabbed by the local police and he has been put behind the bars.
Q8. Apart from your busy schedule, you find pleasure in volunteering your time and create awareness through workshops and counseling sessions. Please share your experiences with us.
A8. I am proud that I am qualified enough to talk on the sensible issue and not only that, I can even extend legal advice if need be. I am working as a vacuum cleaner and I wish to clean every drop of dirt regarding the child abuse. Educational institutes i.e. schools and colleges are the basic platforms where I take the workshops.
Not only that, I have even worked for the strengthening the differently abled through my seminars and counselling sessions. In the same context, I have presented my paper, “Has India done enough for its differently-abled? Issues, challenges & way forward” at the National Conference on Human Rights & Gender Justice organized at Indian Law Institute, New Delhi.
Moreover, I stand for the rights of acid attack survivors and keep extending my counselling to them for a better life.
I also play the role as a Pro bono Counselor in my community of fellow satsangis, as a gesture of Seva (service) to fellow brothers and sisters at Dayalbagh Marriage Panchayat, Dayalbagh, Agra. Through this platform, I take pre-marital counselling of young couples keen to tie the knot.
I am also grateful to Team Ek Pahel ( NGO ) that they chose me to mentor and counsel children of Ek Pahel Pathshala, a progressive school for the underprivileged children, Dayalbagh, Agra established by Ek Pahel B. R. Welfare Society.
Moreover, I extend my services of workshop and counseling in an NGO #Mahila Shanti Sena which is a pioneer NGO in Agra for the women empowerment and has been consistently working for the upliftment of women and girl child.
I have been honored as a guest by Ashiana Mahila Smiti-an NGO where I shared the platform with Mrs. Manisha Singh. I gave them tips and toes about the safety of women.
Furthermore, Kudos to the efforts of Mrs. Maneka Gandhi, ministry of WCD (Women and Child Development) that “POCSO #ebox online complain campaign has been taken up. Without revealing the identity, one can complain about the issue.
The She box can really prove to be a boon to the unwarranted crime. I am thankful to the people around me for supporting me in generating awareness.
Q9. Studies suggest that one in eight boys are sexually abused but it is mostly overlooked by the society. What is your take on this?
A9. It is tougher to convince that the boys can also suffer from the abuse specifically in our Indian Society. The boys’ sufferings are always ignored and they tend to fall in mental turmoil and doubt their sexualities which ultimately takes a toll on their future relationships. A project ‘sensitizing boys’ is being initiated mainly in the Govt. schools.
I find myself fortunate to be a part of the 1st campaign to sensitize boys in my city to help in prevention of crime against girls and women which is an initiative of a pioneer NGO of Agra, MAHILA SHANTI SENA at REI INTERMEDIATE COLLEGE, DAYALBAGH, AGRA. Here all the students took pledge to safeguard the interests of girls and women in the August presence of Smt. Kundanika Sharma ji, the dynamic BJP member.
In brief, Namrata Mishra is a lady with a mission who never deters to talk on the sensible issue. She keeps spreading her wings of knowledge and counseling to different parts of India through schools, colleges, social institutions and government and non-govt. offices etc. While she delivers her seminars and counselling, she acknowledges the sensitivity of the issue. Her talks and counselling are always welcomed and appreciated. She spreads CSA awareness on social media through We Against Child Abuse Group, WACA. She keeps updating people about the laws and awareness workshops through social media sites often.
Twitter : https://twitter.com/namratamishra
page: Laws Around Us: https://www.facebook.com/Lawsaroundus/