By Asmita Sarkar:
The Asian Centre for Human Rights reported a 336% increase in child rape cases from 2001 to 2011, in a report released by them in 2013. Even though child sexual assault has reached the proportion of an epidemic, a blanket of silence surrounds it. This short animated film made by Childline India in 2013, which recently won the 62nd National Award, 2015 (Best Educational Film), is helping break that silence. Adapted in 12 languages, and endorsed by Women and Child Development Ministry and the Central Board of Secondary Education, it will be broadcasted on Doordarshan and its regional subsidiaries, thereby helping widen awareness on this issue.
The film teaches children about ‘safe and unsafe touch‘, how to seek help from adults they trust and protect oneself in such a situation. It emphasises the importance of helping a child report the feeling of ‘discomfort’ they might have felt when touched inappropriately by someone, instead of feeling guilty about it.
The multiple award winning film, even though named Komal, doesn’t bar the male child from the purview of sexual assault. The male child, is treated equally by the educator, and told that they are safe and can voice their story, instead of being asked to stop crying. The film helps the child understand that it is not their fault, but the fault of the perpetrator, and should be seen by all to help deal with the stigma that surrounds this issue.
NOTE: If you know of any child sexual abuse case happening around you, call Childline’s helpline number 1098 for immediate assistance.