Protection of Children is a duty of each citizen on daily basis
Recently, a lot of common women, including me, participated in the Me Too campaign and accepted that even they were physically assaulted or molested. Putting it out there so that everyone notices and realizes how often such crimes happen seemed very important. In certain situations, women are vulnerable and they are taken advantage of. Literally no place can be doomed safe. Here, we are talking about people who are adults and understand what “taking advantage,” “assault,” or “abuse” mean. Somewhere as women we at least know that something wrong is happening to us. Children don’t even know that.
Child sexual abuse is something that seems to have become a sensation. When a case of murder or continual sexual abuse is reported, there is a lot of hue and cry about hundred relevant and irrelevant things. Schools increase security to an unbearable point. Media holds talk shows on the issue. Celebrities tweet and register their protest. Then what? Then, we all conveniently forget about all these issues and move on. Eventually, everyone relaxes. The children for whom all this was done are not even aware of what happened.
The first step to prevent child sexual abuse to make children aware that their private areas cannot be touched by anyone without their permission. If such a thing happens, they need to have a safe person with whom they can share. The key aspect here is to believe and understand what the child is saying. This responsibility lies with the parents, schools and other educational institutions.
In a school, workshops about “good touch and bad touch” are a must. This cannot be overlooked. Many a times, children find it difficult to express their feelings verbally. It becomes our responsibility as responsible adults to provide them the means through which they can express and understand. It becomes the class teacher and the counsellor’s responsibility to keep a general check on change in a student’s behaviour and demeaner. This would help prevent and identify child sexual abuse.
Installation of CCTV cameras, background checks on employees, strict actions taken for even a minor misdoing, and being vigilant will help in making school a safe place for children.
Fast track courts, child friendly reporting (when the child is brought in court), mandatory involvement of a mental health professional could aid the child to go through the proceedings. Definitive number of proceedings and systematic presentation along with minimum involvement of the child can help the child in coping. Reformation of the offender once they are out of the jail and monitoring their activities is also equally important.
As a society, we need to understand that if we were not accepted, we would not feel good about ourselves. The same goes for children who have suffered sexual abuse. Acceptance is a key to help these children reinstate their belief in at least a comparatively safe world.
As a human being, it breaks my heart when tiny humans are made to suffer like this. Please listen to them and notice them!
-- Amruta Lilly