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How Can A Parent Curb The Risk Of Child Sexual Abuse During Lockdown?

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The current pandemic has inadvertently generated major concerns for children and has made them more vulnerable to the atrocities of the world.

Having had the opportunity to volunteer for a helpline number to provide help during this crisis, I talked to someone who was a victim of child sexual abuse and was in the dire need of help.

It made me realize how cardinal it is to educate children about sexual abuse and provide an environment of complete acceptance. We teach our kids to protect themselves from all sorts of things like hot vessels, crossing the road after looking at both sides, etc.

The pandemic opens a channel to sit down and provide a comprehensive understanding to your child through various activities.

A comprehensive prevention strategy should include increasing the parent’s awareness and knowledge of protective measures they can take on behalf of their children.

  • Acknowledge The Prevalence Of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA):

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It is necessary to acknowledge CSA and have an open discussion about it. Let your child know about cases and the relevance of it in this world. Help them understand CSA through a story.

  • Teach Them About Private Body Parts, Safe Touch And Unsafe Touch:

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Talk to your child about their body parts. Explicitly state that some body parts are private and can only be touched by the mother or doctor.

A child who feels comfortable is a shining beam and to teach them about safe touch and unsafe touch is important. One could do this by making a song or a pictorial representation of the body and asking them to point at the private parts i.e mouth, chest, between the legs and bottom.

Tell your child that no one should touch their private parts and that no one should ask them to touch somebody’s private parts. Parents will often forget the second part of this sentence.

Sexual abuse often begins with the perpetrator asking the child to touch them or someone else. Help them understand the difference between a teacher’s pat on the back and someone’s touch on their private body part.

  • Build A Trust Circle With Your Child:

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Help your child draw a trust circle, four people that the child trusts without apprehension, and let the people your child trusts understand the importance of such a conversation.

It could be the father, mother, siblings or teacher. Help them draw a circle and place these people in them. Tell them about how they act as their bodyguard and will protect them.

  • Teach Your Children About Emotions:

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Emotional regulation is the ability to respond to the emotions felt in any given situation in a healthy and socially acceptable way.

As adults, we practice this skill often, but it’s something that children need to practice in order to develop. Responses such as tantrums, shouting or meltdowns are signals that children are having difficulty regulating their emotions.

Help them understand the difference between different emotions and which situations entail which particular emotion.

Happy when you get your favorite food or angry when someone snatches your favorite toy.

  • Be Your Child’s Bodyguard:

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The most important aspect is to provide unconditional positive regard if the child ever comes forth with an incident. Children often emulate the values of their parents and seek approval, a situation like this allows the child to understand that it’s not their fault.

It helps their esteem and brings forth a clearer understanding that eventually aids their growth. Allowing them a space where they can be themselves and where they are encouraged to work through their emotions in a healthy way can make all the difference in their lives.

  • Child Helpline Number:


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Help them learn the child helpline number and the importance of 1098.

The physical signs of child sexual abuse are often hard to detect. However, one can provide a child with the confidence to reach out in a frightful situation through comfort and acceptance.

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 You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Find out more about the campaign here.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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