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Sunday, April 03, 2011

Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month - April 2011

This is the topic going around in the blogosphere, and which parent hasn't thought of it at one point or the other. Definitely when one thinks about the safety of your child, sexual abuse is one of the scariest and unfortunately very common things that one has to guard against. Many of us would have directly or indirectly gone through some sort of abuse, or heard about it from a family member or friend, and know it to be a very real issue.

Some ways in which I hope we can help children to identify dangerous situations:
  1. Teach them to be wary of over-friendly strangers or anyone who is friendly to them when their parents are not around, and especially never to accept anything or go anywhere with someone unknown.
  2. Explain the concept of private parts and good touch/bad touch - it is ok to clean and touch some parts at bathtime or in the bathroom, but not otherwise and definitely not by someone in a public place.
  3. Anytime she's feeling the least uncomfortable, and if it's at a place where you are not around, to attract attention to what is happening.
  4. Make sure that the child knows she can talk to you about anything - never to think of it as being her fault, but to come straight to you.
As a parent, especially before children are old enough to tell you what they experience, make sure never to leave them alone in a room with a not-well known person, even if you are in the next room at the time. I could go on and on on this subject, but these precautions are definitely a start. I've used a female pronoun only because my daughter is my older child and the one I've had these concerns about for longer.

Added later: It is commonly thought by us parents that teaching children to be careful or wary of strangers is the main step towards guarding against child abuse, but in most cases of abuse, the perpetrator is someone known to the child or family. This does not mean we come paranoid of everyone around us, but should definitely keep a check even when children are with someone known to us. Thanks to Pushpa for emphasizing the importance of this.

All through April, over 40 bloggers are coming together to talk about various aspects of Child Sexual Abuse. Their posts can be seen on their blogs as well as on the CSAAM Blog. The CSAAM blog will also feature survivor stories and posts by experts and NGOs working in these fields.

You can join in our efforts to make the world a safer place for our children. If you want to join the discussion, or know someone else who would like to, entries are welcomed and can be submitted in any of the following ways:
  • mailed to OR
  • posted as FB notes and linked to Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month Page OR
  • posted on your own blog with the badge and linked to the main blog OR
  • linked or posted on Twitter tagged
A list of suggested topics is available here. Anonymous contributions are accepted and requests for anonymity will, of course, be honoured. Please remember to send in a mail with all necessary links or just your input to to ensure that your contribution is captured and tracked.

You could also support this initiative by putting the CSAAM logo on the sidebar of your blog or website. Here's the code:

Thanks to Rohini at Mama Says So for pointing me in this direction, and the last few paragraphs about CSAAM and later are verbatim from her post.

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