“It’s not about the voices in our head it’s about what we do with them.” – Lilly Singh
Every parent wants their child to be safe and protected. Hence, the onus of creating a safe and protected environment for our kids lies upon us and let me tell you here and now that it is still a goal to be achieved and we cannot achieve it without breaking the silence about ferocious crimes that exists in our society. One of such crimes is child sexual abuse.
To define it to the people who are still unknown to the term, “It is a form of abuse where by an adult or a person in his/her late teenage uses a child or a minor for ‘sexual stimulation’. So, what does sexual stimulation mean? For kids it means ‘a forceful sexual excitement’ which leaves a child clueless of what is happening. It can include within itself:
– Forcefully kissing a child.
– Compelling them to watch adult films.
– Touching their ‘genitals’.
– It can also be as vigorous as forceful penetration.
As per research, every second child in our society is victim of such a brutal crime. This crime is not gender-specific. A lot of people wish for their childhood to return or they desire for it to freeze but many survivors of this brutality never want this to happen because those harsh incidents have imprinted upon their brains so badly that thinking about their childhood tends to distress them. They often tend to isolate themselves.
The need of the hour is not only to be vocal about it but also to spread awareness regarding this barbaric crime. To make people understand how sensitive this issue is, right parenting is one significant way, to make society a better place to live in. Right parenting not only gives the solution to the problem but also curbs the problem. So, what does right parenting inculcate within itself?
Right parenting means teaching your kid what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and telling them why is it so:
– It includes an open forum between the child and the parent. An open forum of a kind, that lets the child tell the parent everything without any hesitation.
– Giving them sex education
– Telling them the difference between ‘right touch’ and ‘wrong touch’.
– And most importantly, teaching them how to say ‘no’, telling them how ‘no’ is a sentence within itself and how important it is for oneself.
– Telling them that there should always be ‘will’ or ‘consent’ and there is no one who can compel them to do something.
The time has come to make kids learn not to respect elders but to respect behaviour.
The juxtaposition that occurs here is that parents expect their child to tell them everything but they themselves hesitate talking about it. In a country like India, entering a temple with a ‘red stain’ is considered as a taboo hence, talking about sex is still a far-fetched dream. Thus, it is necessary for parents to be capable of listening to what their child is trying to convey.
Who are the abusers? One cannot identify an abuser by face because they are divided into every class of society. Abusers are neither gender-specific nor class-specific. Abusers need not always be an outsider, many a times it is someone you know very well. It can be a family member too. To identify the ‘abuser’ and to prevent abuse, it’s necessary to note their behavioural patterns. These can include:
– People who often insist on spending time alone with children.
– They also insist on physical affection such as kissing, hugging or wrestling even when the child clearly does not want it.
– They like to spend most of their time with children and not with the people of their own age.
– They are ready to baby sit for free every time.
These behavioural patterns can be taken as a warning.
Also, change in the behaviour of your kid can be taken as a sign that something is wrong. A child being too quiet, lost, annoyed or angry. This brutal crime often leads to having a long-lasting impact on the behaviour of children so, it’s important as an adult for us to observe and cater to them. Being an elder, one should never neglect a child talking about any such abuse and once you are aware you should take action:
– To believe your child.
– To confront the abuser.
– To file a complaint and follow the legal procedure.
– To apologise to your child for not being able to protect them.
Stringent laws have been formulated regarding this ruthless crime. It has been declared as an punishable offense by Indian law. So, it’s important to talk about it openly and to learn and react in a significant manner.
If you are a survivor, parent or guardian who wants to seek help for child sexual abuse, or know someone who might, you can dial 1098 for CHILDLINE (a 24-hour national helpline) or email them at [email protected] You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.