Do cases of sexual abuse of children send chills down your spine? Do you want to do your bit to prevent sexual abuse and safeguard innocent souls? Our Voix knows Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is preventable and has been working to eliminate it at the grassroot level. Our recent campaign, #IStandForBachpan, invites people to be a part of this intervention. We have conducted workshops for children, teachers, parents, and youth on primary prevention of CSA. Through our work, we have been able to identify a few easy steps that you can initiate to ensure safe childhood.
Teach your children, your younger siblings, and others who are vulnerable about ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ touch. Teach them the correct names of their body parts, private parts and their power to say “NO” to unwanted touching. It’s important that your child knows who can they trust when they are worried or upset. Make sure your child knows that it’s not their fault if somebody touches them inappropriately.
In this game, you have to give situations to your child and ask for their response. The responses of the child will help you to correct the child’s response beforehand. Here are a few “What if” situations you can give to your child or cousins.
Spend at least 10 golden minutes with your child every day. This is the time when you can interact with your child and know about their daily routine. You can ask questions such as ‘What games did you play after school?’, ‘Who is your best friend?’, ‘What are things are making you worried?’. It will help to create a bond with your child and will provide an environment for them to share and talk.
Ensure that adults taking care of your child or your child’s school undertake preventive measures for children safety such as the establishment of a Child Abuse Monitoring Committee, complaint boxes, children’s right clubs, a Child Protection Policy, background checks of staff, and workshops on safe and unsafe touch, and the like. Ask the school if they have adopted such preventive measures.
There are certain warning signs that one can observe if the child is going through any kind of abuse. With respect to physical signs, it would include rashes around their private parts or pain in private parts. Behaviour signs would include anxiety, changes in their eating habits, and more. Moreover, a child is using sexual language which is not age-appropriate can also be one of the warning signs. Identify these and take corrective action.
You can reduce the risk of abuse by adopting a place-based approach. Keep an eye on the places where your child goes to. Avoid keeping children in isolation. Make sure outings are observable – if not by you, then by others.
If a child shares his/her experience about abuse with you, neither blame nor shame the child for the same. Raise your voice and report the matter to the authorities. It is crucial to add your voice to the voice of the child to make it heard.
Our Voix’s workshops build the capacity of the teachers to identify abuse and handle disclosure. Moreover, teachers are also made aware of the legal aspect of CSA. The team also provides training programs to youth to act as change makers and work on ending violence against children. So, will you take these steps and say #IStandForBachpan?