April is globally recognised as the Sexual Assault Awareness month, and on Saturday, April 19, a stellar group of panelists came together to speak about one largely ignored aspect of sexual assault-the issue of child sexual abuse (CSA) that has robbed millions of kids of their childhoods, in our country. Much was discussed and debated-from the need for parents to have open channels of communication with their children to the legal rights of the victim, how to approach the police, the myths plaguing the issue, and more.
For those who couldn't make it to the event, here's a brief on all that was talked about. CSA thriver Harish Iyer spoke about his abuse and how he overcame it, and the urgent need for parents to equip their children with language that helps them tell their parents about what's going on. He was joined on stage by his mother Padma Iyer, who recounted the day she first realised her son was a victim of CSA, and encouraged parents to be bolder and stronger for their kids. Author of The Bad Touch, Payal Shah Karwa, stressed on the need to have open channels of communication with children, so that they feel comfortable telling parents about the incidents. Swati Popat Vats, president of Podar Education Network, encouraged parents to teach kids about body safety and intelligence, to be aware and alert of CSA incidents happening around them and ensure that they report them to the child's school in order to help them help the child and the family.
Pooja Taparia of Arpan, an NGO that works towards creating awareness about CSA and teach kids about safe and unsafe touches, talked about listening to and supporting a child when he or she confides about being abused, without reacting negatively. Psychiatrist Dr Avinash De Sousa talked to parents about refraining from blaming the child or themselves, as that would have negative consequences in the long term. A very informative talk was given by Persis Sidhva from Majlis, an NGO that provides legal aid to women and kids. She spoke about the Protection Of Children From Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and the legal recourse available to parents of victims. Lastly, Senior Inspector Shirish Sawant informed parents on how they should report the crime to the police.The event also saw the participation of parents as well as thrivers of CSA in an interactive Q&A session with the panelists.
Watch this space for the videos of the event which will be uploaded soon. You could also download the ebook that contains all the information you need to keep you child safe or help them, in case the need ever arises, here.