Sunday, April 13, 2014

CSA Awareness April 2014 - Some Small Steps...

The initiative against Child Sexual Abuse is something I first heard of in April 2011 through the blogosphere and since then I have realized that many bloggers and friends that I know are involved in it. This post is me trying to do my very little bit to increase awareness and try to fight this scourge one parent at a time..

Many brave folks have come up to talk about dealing with CSA when young, the most recent being Kalki Koechlin. I think this incident and the openness that she and others have displayed is a wonderful step in the right direction. What can I as a parent do to make my children more aware?

- I believe that a child should be taught first of all to respect their body and that of others. Modesty should never be confused with shame, which I think is a differentiation that is not always made. One of the things that helps and one that we practice at home is to use the correct words for parts of the anatomy, though at a younger age words like "dicky" serve to make them understand as well.

- Another step to avoid any feeling of shame is to ensure that topics like menstruation and periods are never considered dirty or a taboo topic to be discussed. I found the book "Just for Girls" a wonderful approach to teach my nearly 9 year old daughter a lot about changes in her body. I hope this will serve as a gentle introduction and accompanied by some matter-of-fact discussions, she would be fully ready by the time she has to experience this. Needless to say, there is a "Just for Boys" version as well that I'm waiting for a couple more years to get my hands on, I suspect even I might learn stuff from it ;).

- My biggest challenge is trying to traverse the line between being a protective and careful parent and turning into a slightly paranoid one. Every time there is a piece of news about CSA I have the urge to not let the kids out of my sight at all. I try to achieve middle ground by sending them out into the world for essential things like going to school and keeping my peace for supervised play where there is at least a parent within calling distance, but I draw the line at playing on the road with no chaperones.

- Start talking about good touch and bad touch at a young age, though it is up to us as parents to make children aware without scaring them. This is one reason why I repeatedly speak up when I see this video posted, as I feel it is too graphic and could scar young children. For older children it may be ok, but only after this topic has been spoken about and discussed in detail, and definitely not as an introduction to CSA!

- It can be tough in a social country like India to teach a child to be disrespectful to strangers, but in my opinion it's much better to keep them safe even if it involves a few bent egos. A general introduction of everyone as "Aunty" and "Uncle" is really not the safest aspect of our society!

These are some small steps that we have tried to take in our home, and I sincerely hope and wish that the awareness spreads not just to parents but to all caregivers. The school is the one place that children spend the most time in other than at home, and every last person from the teacher in the classroom to the ayah in the corridors needs to be aware!

Posted as a part of CSA Awareness campaign in April 2014, and will be linked to the main CSA page at http://csaawarenessmonth.com/

4 comments:

  1. Absolutely agree on the part "Uncles and Auntys". Wish the older generation stays away from our thoughts too. Sometimes it gets way ugly when they interfere and suggest behavioural remedies

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very much agree with your uncles and aunties syndrome ingrained into our system... Well written Aparna and I can relate to every line you have written....

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would have loved to read this book when I was younger " Just for girls". But it's not too late for me to share it with my nieces. I hope they would benefit much from it. Thanks for that useful piece of info.:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Vidya, Malar and Blessed for dropping in and commenting :)

    ReplyDelete