The largest children shelter sexual abuse case was unearthed due to this small detail

Never underestimate children’s instinct on whom to trust.

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Photo by Kristina Flour

Assistant Professor Mohammed Tarique’s job was to do a social audit of shelter homes. If he had strictly stuck to his job, there would be no headlines.

And children would be still suffering in silence.

His team blew the lid on kids being abused in a shelter home in a town called Muzaffarpur in Bihar, India.

What motivated me to pen the blog was the small detail that really triggered the massive exposé.

If you have read Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist or any other orphan story — you do know that life in a bad orphanage is difficult. Just because an outsider gets to have a secure, one on one conversation with kids at an orphanage means nothing — unless something small and yet magical happens in a short period of time.

That magic is about earning children’s trust.

In that context — Mohammed’s words were awesome.

“Children said small, small things and observed how we reacted to it.

For example, when a girl child told us that one guard beat her up, we did not confront the guard immediately.

We did not call him and pull him up.

We did that because if we do such things it would be more harmful to the girl because once you leave the shelter home after a couple of hours, that guard will not spare the child.

So it was all about winning the confidence of the children.

And once we won the confidence of the children they started opening up and it was only after that we realized that something is really going wrong in the Muzaffarpur shelter home.”

Greatest contributions are built on smallest details. This story is a testament to that.

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