Child Sexual Abuse in India:
The alarming statistics on Child Sexual Abuse as per a recent study reveals that over 53% children in India are victims of this brutal act. This is without including the under-reported cases. So how safe are our children both inside and outside their homes? Time has come for parents to come out of the delusion that ‘it would never happen to my child’ and understand the reality. Of late, there have been quite a number of initiatives taken up by NGOs, media groups etc. to raise awareness of this brutal crime.
Impact of Child Sexual Abuse on the victim:
Sexual abuse on children can have a devastating impact on them. They become victims of a crime about which they have absolutely no knowledge about. Some of the immediate consequences can be:
(i) Child going into sadness/despair
(ii) Child preferring to stay in isolation
(iii) Lack of confidence/energy/appetite
The implications of child sexual abuse can traumatise the victims even in their adulthood leading to various psychological and physiological problems. Therefore, any change in the normal behaviour of a child should be observed and attended to by parents. Let’s not forget that the solace children find in their parents is irreplaceable.
What should parents do?
We belong to a country where open discussion about sex is uncommon and even considered a taboo. A lot of parents hesitate to discuss about sex and relationship with their children. One of the reasons why a child falls prey to the perpetrators of this crime is the lack of understanding the child has about what is been done to him/her. No one can take a better role to enlighten children about sex education than the parents themselves. Experts feel that the ideal way to educate your child about sexual abuse is to teach them about the various forms of good touch and bad touch. Children as young as 4 or 5 should be taught what their ‘private parts’ are, who the ‘safe people’ are and also to report to their parents if anyone outside the circle of ‘safe people’ touches their ‘private parts’. Parents should practise this as an on-going activity with their children so that the latter become conscious and alert about any wrong signal.
Role of schools:
Schools play an important role in every child’s life as that is where he/she spends maximum time outside home. Therefore, schools too can play a vital role in educating children about child sexual abuse. AllizHealth was very happy to work with Klay Prep Schools, Bangalore to conduct a session on ‘Good Touch & Bad Touch’. Since the kids at Klay (pre-school) were too young to understand what child sexual abuse was, we conducted the session to the parents in educating them about how to communicate to their children about sex education and child sexual abuse. The session was addressed by Dr. Adarsh Somashekar, of Neo-natal Care and Research Institute, Bangalore.
Similar initiatives taken by schools play a crucial role in raising awareness against this crime thereby making our children more confident.
Life of every child is precious to let it become a victim of the brutality of sexual abuse. Remember the rules:
(i) Keep aside the social stigmas and open up with your children
(ii) Instill the confidence in your child that you are there to ‘listen’
(iii) And most importantly empower your child to say a ‘NO’ to sexual abuse