Creating awareness on child sexual abuse to help and equip children prevent abuse

53% of children in India
are sexually abused!!!

November 19th, a day dedicated to focus on children against sexual abuse has been widely advocated by various agencies across the country. In Namakkal district, Buds of Christ realised the need to create awareness among school children on the potential forms of abuse that children can be easily exposed.

In 2007 the Ministry of Women and Child Development published the "Study on Child Abuse: India 2007. It sampled 12447 children, 2324 young adults and 2449 stakeholders across 13 states. It looked at different forms of child abuse and in five evidence groups, namely, children in a family environment, children in school, children at work, children on the street and children in institutions.
The study's main findings included: 53.22% of children reported having faced sexual abuse. Among them 52.94% were boys and 47.06% girls.

Schools in Tiruchengode were selected and around 300 children were oriented on the different forms of touch, behaviours which itself can be forms of child sexual abuse. In the two schools we had organized, there was a wide response from the girls when conditions and facts were shared. The process involved a story telling, presentation and group discussions.

The issues and questions that emerged from the group will make us realise that children are under the experience of abuse and it is essential that more awareness have to be created around it.

©      “Even if we say NO, there are certain people who come and touch me, what can I do then”
©      “The person whom we trust itself does things that I don’t like, touching me in the wrong places, what can we do”
©      “If people whom we know does acts like this, can we say it is abuse?”
©      “If someone touches me and I avoid it and if he does it again, what can I do“
©      “To share it, I feel scared what can I do”

In the group discussion, children expressed that sometimes their own uncles and known people do such acts which causes fear and sometimes have agreed to such conditions.
The discussion resulted in ways of protecting themselves and also their friends if they are being abused. The main points shared included sharing openly about such behaviors to trusted adults, shouting or saying NO strongly, fleeing from the situation and sharing until you get help from your parent or trusted adult.

The workshop was welcomed by the faculty and the students and also realised the need to discuss topics around abuse. One message that was strongly taken was that the abuser is at fault and not the person who is abused. As an organization, it was also observed that girls especially from the disadvantaged conditions (like lower caste, poor socio-economic conditions) in rural areas have very less opportunities for such awareness programmes. In addition the experiences from this group also reveal that child sexual abuse is very much prevalent even in rural areas.

It is an urgent need for organizations and parents to realise the need to talk openly and to trust children so that they protect themselves.

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