I think most of you will agree that Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is one of the most heinous crime commit-able. What a lot of people did not agree on until lately (at least in India) was the rate and nature of its prevalence.
When I conducted my research on Child Sexual Abuse almost 16 years back, most people I spoke to believed CSA occurred only rarely in “culturally strong countries like India” and definitely not in “nice middle class homes”. This; when almost 30 percent of them admitted in their interviews to have some or the other ‘abusive’ experience.
Thus you can well imagine my surprise when, last month I was asked by a group of ladies, who run a ‘Kids Club’ in our city to give a talk for the kids and moms about CSA. Being a crusader against CSA I was thoroughly delighted to see this shift in attitude. A few years back most women would go “CSA what? You should speak about that with people living in slums. Not us!” Now not only do they wish to increase their own awareness about CSA but they also wish to inform their children about it.
While newspapers and media have played their part. Credit also goes to shows like ‘Satyamev Jayate’. Though I have some minor issues with the content of the show I whole heartily acknowledge that the show brought CSA into focus. It brought home the point that child sexual abuse is not merely limited to incidents that make newspaper headlines but something that may be happening all around us and maybe even in our own homes and colonies.
This is a remarkable positive shift! All of us who are concerned about the well-being of children should use this opportunity to the fullest. We must become well-informed about the subject ourselves and speak about it to others around us. Our friends, club members, colleagues, evening walk acquaintances, our children’s friends parents, their school teachers. We must equip parents, grand parents, teachers and guardians of children to raise children in a way that minimizes the risk of such abuse. With this purpose I am attaching with this post my presentation to the mothers on Child Sexual Abuse. I am not sure how good it is but it served as a good starting point for the two-hour discussion we had last month with some moms.
A few clarifications:
- Taking a cue from people who have worked on studying CSA and its prevention, I decided to use the terms ‘safe/unsafe touch’ rather than CSA to make the talk less threatening and more palatable.
- I decided to start the talk by sharing my experiences as a child. I said what I believe, that all of us tend to have this rosy picture about childhood, that it is full of laughter, game and fun alone. No doubt that is the way it should be, and for some of us it may have been that way. But childhood is also a time of great confusion. Of half knowledge and vague misconceptions. Of misplaced trust and unknown fears and many potential threats. I believe that we will be doing our children a great favour by equipping them well to deal with these threats. That we do so without shattering the innocence is the challenge.
- Statistically speaking one in five children in India has gone through an abusive experience. Chances are some of them are sitting in your group. Be prepared for the ‘sharing’. Be alert to ‘cues’ and body language. Be sympathetic and non judgmental. Be responsive and responsible. If possible be prepared with the number of a help line or counsellor.
Here is the presentation I used!
I hope some of you will make an effort to speak to people around you about CSA. Do check out the ‘bathing suit rule’ on slide no. 18. I absolutely loved the simplicity of it! In slide no. 22 I have given the number of a help line in Ajmer. You could, if you wish add a number relevant to your city. Best of Luck!
Please let me know if you have any experience in talking about CSA to parents/general public/kids. I would love to learn more!
I would also love to hear your views about CSA – its prevalence and how it can be stopped
The talk with children is due this weekend. I will post that too.
For the purpose of this presentation I have drawn matter from a lot of websites on safe/unsafe touch. Here are the links to some of the sites I had used while writing this presentation. There are many more I had drawn from but because at the time of putting this presentation together I had not intended to publish it, I had not kept a close tab on the sources. I regret this and hope I will be forgiven since my intentions are good! 🙂
A mom of two, Sapna is a business woman, an avid book lover, a stand in decorator for her restaurants, a movie buff, a social worker by training and a “change maker” by choice. A dreamer, like her name suggests, she says she is dangerously sentimental and an idealist at heart. Married to her childhood sweetheart she lives in a small city in Rajasthan with her kids Maya 8 yrs. and Kabir 7 yrs. She started blogging a year back and uses her blog justanotherwakeupcall to make new friends and connect with people.