All children have the right to a life free of sexual abuse.
With this idea in mind, Nirmal Initiative Trust, a registered volunteer-based organization, has designed a colouring book, containing information about prevention of child sexual abuse (CSA).
It is a guide for teachers and parents on children’s self- esteem, self-care, personal space, their awareness about unsafe touch, and what to do if one feels unsafe. Communicated through pictures, it gives teachers and parents a good mode of communication to start talking about CSA with kids in a non-threatening way, after all learning about personal safety does not have to be scary.
Every picture in the colouring book has an epilogue comprising joyous activities for children and a message to listen to their inner voice and seek help. Two children are narrators of the things as told by elders.
The book is a novel and innovative effort to reach a child’s innocent mind. There are attractive pictures that speak louder than words, and children learn effectively from activity based exercises.
The book contains 17 pictures, the pictures 1 to 4 convey self-esteem reinforcement, and that every child is special. The background of this message is to reinforce that children develop the desire and confidence to take care of themselves as they are important.
Pictures 5 to 7 convey self-care and protection as it encourages children to think about themselves in a serious and self-connected way.
Pictures 8 to 12 contain a ‘personal space circle’, to explain to children that each and every person has an invisible circle around them and what happens if someone trespasses that space.
Pictures 13 to 15 are about unsafe secret touch. They explain that there are four private parts of a child’s body, and it’s totally unacceptable if someone touches their mouth, chest, and genitals.
And finally, pictures 16 to 18 explain that in case someone touches them in a way that makes them uncomfortable, then they must reach out to the adult they trust for help.
The idea is to pass on a powerful affirmative message: if a child has been abused then adults should make sure that the child knows that it isn’t their (the child’s) fault.
The book is a worth reading and sharing. It should be a part of every school curriculum as it introduces the ideal of CSA to children and adults in a playful way but is still clear, precise and direct, including statistics of CSA, which are essential to point out to the gravity of the issue.
It does away with the language barrier as it’s available in Hindi and English and is easily translatable in other languages. Distributed in the welfare of the society, the book is free of cost, but with a caution against using it for commercial purposes.
Shweta Goswami and her team of volunteers at Nirmal Initiative Trust are working with great enthusiasm to build strong communities to end CSA and other forms of violence. We fight to change our world for the better before humans are forced settle on the Mars! And to do it on a big scale, we need the support of people like you and me. With the help of the colouring book, we can take a step towards children’s safety. So if you’re ready to join in, get a soft copy by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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@example.com. You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.