Two weeks ago, a woman who lives in the slum near my house came to see me. She looked deeply disturbed. She has a nine-year-old granddaughter who goes to school early morning and returns in the afternoon. Most days, she eats lunch and falls into a deep sleep. That day, while her mother was washing clothes, this little girl fell asleep as usual. By chance, her mother heard something and went up to the loft to check. There she found her neighbour’s 14-year-old son pulling down his pants and hovering over the child, whose undergarments had already been removed. The mother screamed. The boy ran. And the little girl woke up not knowing what had happened.
What should she do, wondered her grandmother. Report this to the police? Others in the slum who had done that got no relief, she said. When she confronted the boy’s mother, she was met with denial. Should the girl’s father beat up the boy and teach him a lesson? But these were her neighbours. They had lived side by side for decades.