Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month
Children are the most unrepresented and powerless minorities anywhere. And a large many fall prey to the sexual appetites of adults around them. Not knowing whether what is happening with them is appropriate, seduced or coerced, pleasured or pained, they have little power to expose the crimes against them and find justice.
Often they will not be believed. They can be asked to stop talking such things about elders for the sake of family honor. Other times, their protectors are the ones abusing them. Still other times, the people who can help them are victims of that predator too, and advocate silence as safety. It takes something outrageously inhuman to grab attention. Then condemnation is swift as all disown any similarity with the criminal. There are a few days of anger, and then people move on…. Till the next gang raped child hits the news.
We have absolutely no right to talk platitudes of children being innocent and fragile, if we subject them to conditions worse than we expect for adults. Get this straight. If this is too difficult to fight, the answer is not shutting up, and leaving it to children with even less ability to fight it. The answer lies in getting our guts together and going at it with all we have, so that it doesn’t land on the fragile innocents. Be the shield for children. Because you wish someone shielded you when you needed it too.
We have no reliable data for the extent of Child Sexual Abuse in India. There are rising incidences, and a survey commissioned by the government in 2007 estimated that a mind boggling 53% of all children have suffered from CSA. This is not funny at all. What is even more unfunny is that these numbers did not ignite any change. The Cabinet passed a bill to prevent Child Sexual Abuse, but little awareness about reaches public space. It is unclear what exactly we are DOING to prevent this problem.
This status quo is unacceptable, yet we do nothing. More and more instances dot our newspapers and we keep reading them, feeling disgust and moving on.
This month, we raise awareness on Child Sexual Abuse. The different forms it can take, the factors that support it, the factors that prevent prevention and effective justice. We inform you on what you can do to monitor, prevent or report CSA. We walk you through the skills of sensitizing children on CSA and affirming their right to their autonomy in such a way that they feel empowered to be bold and report any alarm they may feel. We help you understand which of your actions will help, which may seem appropriate but aren’t. What do you do when a child tells you that they have been subjected to CSA? How can you find out more from them without causing them trauma, or influencing their words unacceptably for an investigation?
Whom can you approach for help on behalf of a child victim? What avenues are open to you in your quest for justice and a safer world?
We arm you with information, so that you may be a change agent in your world.
We expect you to keep reading, thinking, bringing up these subjects with people you know, online, at work… coming up with ideas, contributing your efforts as you are able. Let this flame become a wildfire.