Protect your children from sexual abuse: Use these resources to empower them

Start talking to your children: Videos, books, posters, post-its and other useful downloadables to educate children on child sexual abuse.


The incident of sexual assault of a 6-year-old child on July 2, 2014, at an upmarket school in Bangalore by the school’s own staff and during school hours has sent shock waves through the entire parent community in the city and outside.

This isn’t the first time sexual assault is being reported in and around schools in the city or for that matter, in schools elsewhere in India. What is startling in its absence is any information around the case being reported or not, what happened to the offenders and action that schools can/have taken to secure safety of the children. More often than not, parents have chosen to stay silent, opting to take the child out of school and prevent further trauma.

Child Sexual Abuse has been an open secret in India for longer than a decade: 53% of children undergo abuse in some form or manner, and more than 50%, at the hands of people they know AND trust. While it is paramount to ensure we hold our our schools, communities, law enforcers, policy makers and the systems accountable, empowering your child to speak up is the first and necessary step that precedes anything else. And that has to start at home.

Here are useful resources for you to start talking to your child:  Videos, PSAs, books, posters, FAQs, post-its and more. Go home and talk to your child today!

Videos to show your child

1. Komal

Childline’s “Komal”, an animated video on child sexual abuse is by far the most accessible movie you can show your child to make them aware of what abuse is. The film deals with the subject sensitively while being non-didactic and practical about what children can do.

2. Safe and unsafe touch with Dr. Bhooshan

Dr. Bhooshan addresses both girls and boys on how they should stay safe from ‘danger’. Starting with common things that the children will recognize as dangerous, Dr. Bhooshan slowly introduces the more uncomfortable subject of body parts and safe/unsafe touch, making it relatable. Often times, videos on CSA portray the source of danger as a ‘monster’ that visits the child in the dark, making it all seem unreal and scary. This video tackles the subject in very normal terms and sensitively.

3. Chuppi Todo – Go tell Mom!

Nobody can hurt your child – is the first thing your kid should know. The second thing he/she has to know is that they can come to you and talk to you about anything, anything at all, that they feel wrong about. Documentary filmmaker Sanjay Singh started “Chuppi Todo” as an effort to to educate children like his six-year-old daughter. The film and message however have gone on to become a huge campaign across schools in Delhi and Mumbai. Chuppi Todo was also adopted by Plan India, an NGO working with children, as their official campaign in 2011. Here is an interview with the filmmaker on the PSA.

4. Puppetarians

Here is another very well made film featuring characters from the popular Sesame Street series. It uses an easy conversation between two puppets to talk about the body and touch. (Hat Tip: Sangitha Krishnamurthi).

Psychologists speak about CSA prevention

The CSA Awareness Month initiative that runs through the month of April every year, has advice from psychologists and therapists on talking to children. Debi Talukdar on building bonds with children:

More voices here.

 

Books

CSA_YellowBook_Tarshi

1. The Yellow Book by TARSHI – a guide for parents

Since 1996, TARSHI has been counselling and supporting people – young and not-so-young – on issues of sexuality and sexual health.  This book has tips, facts and ways to convey the information accurately to the child. The book can be purchased at FlipKart, and also at Scholars Without Borders.

CSAl_OrangeBook_Tarshi

2. The Orange Book – TARSHI – a guide for educators

The Orange Book is a workbook for teachers with 28 exercises on imparting comprehensive sexuality education. Contact TARSHI to get a copy.

3. Tickles and Hugs by Karadi Tales

New KaradiAn audiobook produced by Karadi Tales, supported by Action Aid and Tulir and narrated by actors Revathy and Rahul Bose, offers smart ways for children to stay safe. The book appears out of print, but an e-copy is available for download in the Tulir site.

 

Here is a comprehensive reading list on the subject of CSA, put together by bloggers at the CSA Awareness Month initiative.

Posters and information online

Faqs from the TULIR website are a wealth of information about abuse and they address issues that many want to ask but rarely do, like ‘What kind of a person would sexually abuse a child?’ and ‘Is it possible for sexual abusers to stop abusing?’. Here is a useful poster on safe and unsafe touch. Tulir also has colourful posters on Keeping Safe that come in English, Hindi and Tamil. You can download their posters here.

Arpan has a parenting guide for keeping children safe, listing out tips and means to talk to children on a day-to-day basis.

WatchOutKid listed here is to protect against Cyber Jerks.

The National Children’s Advocacy Centre has a simple list of behaviours and physical signs to watch out for.

And if you want to go to the basics..

Know that it can happen right under your nose and at home

Read our I survived to tell the tale series of survivor accounts that tell you that Child Sexual Abuse is much, much closer home than we think. Everyone of us interacts everyday with survivors, it is just that we don’t know it.

Read HUSH

Hush_Cover

HUSH is a very small book. “We would like to term it a graphic short story,” says Pratheek Thomas, its illustrator from Manta Ray Comic, “rather than a graphic novel.” The main story is only 17 pages. With a foreword, interviews, sketchbook and samples of the working script, the book comes to a little more than that.

But those 20-odd pages are your entry into a totally new world. A shockingly bold narrative that talks about a story “that has been there probably from the beginning of time”, in the words of Pratheek Thomas, but told in an entirely new fashion. The main story of HUSH follows a little girl, Maya, as she explodes in a destructive rampage, her wordless reaction to the horrifying abuse she has suffered for years. Maya is a victim of CSA – Child Sexual Abuse. Her abuser is someone close to her, someone from her own family.

And browse our Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Campaigns from the last few years for the shocking reality with child abuse, resources, expert views, survivor support and more.

Tell us if you have other useful resources or tips that you have used to educate your child. Let’s keep our children safe!


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aarti Mohan is the Chief editor of The Alternative. more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aarti Mohan is the Chief editor of The Alternative. more

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