Help break silence against child sexual abuse campaign begins

Can you tell if your child is a victim of sexual abuse? Does your child know how to distinguish between safe and unsafe touch? Schools in the city are trying hard to make sure that they do. An awareness campaign has been kicked off in many city pre-schools to educate parents and children on how to detect and deal with child sexual abuse.

This initiative, started as part of a national campaign ‘˜Chuppi Todo’™, was kicked off by the alumni of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Tiss) in Mumbai and Delhi. Now, pre-schools in Mumbai are holding seminars, film screenings, activities, panel discussions and counselling sessions with child psychologists to guide parents on the early detection of sexual abuse in their children.

‘Since child abuse can happen at any age, it is never too early to start learning about it. In fact, studies have revealed that the maximum number of child sexual abuse instances occur among children from two-and-a-half to six years of age and after puberty,’ said Kusum Kanwar, head school operations, Kangaroo Kids, which has recently started this campaign in its Pali Hill pre-school.

Since communication is the first step in dealing with sexual abuse, schools are also conducting sessions on the use of aids like flash cards, which can be used by parents and teachers in communicating the issue to the children.

‘Some signs of abuse are withdrawal symptoms like shyness, or unwillingness to go somewhere, children mimicking adult-like sexual behaviour, wetting or soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training, new words for private body parts, resistance to the removal of clothes for appropriate times like bath, bed, or toilet,’ said a psychologist.

The campaign is based on a qualitative study carried out in Mongolpuri, Delhi.

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