Recently, I was conducting a preventive awareness session on Child Sexual Abuse at one of the schools in Delhi. While asking children to identify their body parts, a lot of them felt shy while others giggled, when I pointed towards their chest. One of them was courageous enough to speak, but all she said was “Chips” instead of “Chest”.
There were other instances where children named the chest as the stomach. I was not astonished because I was aware of the lack of knowledge among children on such a topic. But it made me rethink about the response I received from a knowledgeable person a few days back. She said matter-of-factly, “Oh Megha, children already know about such issues. They are taught about such things. They are aware.” But, I wonder who is unaware. The kids or the adults? We presume kids will somehow get to know about it? Sometimes we assume they already know about their body parts and the difference between a good and bad touch. This knowledge has to be taught to them openly and is not something to be laughing about. Teaching children about their private parts is equally essential as potty training or teaching them how to brush their teeth. Voix, a youth lead organisation, has started imparting such crucial knowledge. The journey from chips to the chest is a long way. But it has already begun.
Because the sad truth is that if a child comes to you and says somebody ate my chips, you won’t understand what they are talking about. I know its harsh. But it is the reality. Let’s start the talk.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.