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India: Break silence on sexual abuse, film tells kids

Publish Date: 08 Jun 2011
Source: The Times of India
By: Ambika Pandit

NEW DELHI: Children living in slums and studying in government schools will soon be introduced to 'Chuppi Todo'- a campaign against child sexual abuse. Empowering the child with the "rules of touch", the campaign calls upon kids to break their silence, prevent and protect themselves and others from sexual abuse.

The short films and television spots titled 'Chuppi Todo' unravel the dangers that make both boys and girls vulnerable to sexual abuse. Simplifying the complexities of the problem for the child, the film brings out the difference between the safe touch and unsafe touch through a mime act.  

"While there is widespread acknowledgement that child sexual abuse is rampant, we choose to sweep it under the carpet. People need to speak up and confront the offender"

'Chuppi Todo' revolves around the day to day life of children at home, in parks, on the bus stop and in the neighbourhood. It tells them not to accept any sweets or gifts from strangers on the street on the way back from school. In a sensitive portrayal, it touches upon the problems of incest and asks children to share their feelings with their parents if any relative touches them in a way that makes them uncomfortable.

"Kuch acha nahin lage to naa kehna seekho.(If you don't like something learn to say no.) Mummy ko batao, papa ko batao (Tell your mother, tell your father)," the actors assert. The message is clear that the children must break their silence. It shows the impact of awareness through the character of Chhaya, a girl who empowered with this information protects herself from situations where she faces strangers who try to abuse her.

The first phase of the campaign to be led by NGOs will be conducted under the supervision of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights. "The campaign seeks to reach out to about two lakh children in Delhi. Issues related to child sexual abuse, awareness among children and community towards safe and unsafe touch, reporting and response will be addressed through screening of 'Chuppi Todo' and the television spots. It aims to train various stakeholders including parents, children, police, media and teachers. We will also reach out to the general public through cable television," Vijay Rai, from Plan India which is supporting the campaign said. 

The first national study on child abuse in 2007 by the ministry of women and child shows that 53.22% of the children surveyed across the country reported one or more forms of sexual abuse.

Speaking about the film, Sanjay K Singh, a child rights activist says that the problem of child sexual abuse is more rampant than one thinks and hence needs to be prevented through awareness. "While there is widespread acknowledgement that child sexual abuse is rampant, we choose to sweep it under the carpet. People need to speak up and confront the offender," Singh added.

The first national study on child abuse in 2007 by the ministry of women and child shows that 53.22% of the children surveyed across the country reported one or more forms of sexual abuse. Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Delhi reported the highest percentage of sexual abuse among both boys and girls.

Data collected under a study by Tata Institute of Social Science shows that one out of three girls had been sexually abused in childhood. The study revealed that boys were equally vulnerable as the data reflected that one out of 10 boys covered under the survey reported abuse.


Copyright © 2011 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Break-silence-on-sexual-abuse-film-tells-kids/articleshow/8766890.cms
 


Stop Demand makes the following comments - to raise awareness, educate and encourage readers towards critical analysis.

While commendable, campaigns tackling child sex abuse that focus solely on children are strategically limited.  Empowering children is great, provided it does not place the burden of responsibility on kids to prevent their own abuse. 

Let's place responsibility where it belongs.  Sexual violence is overwhelmingly a men's, not a women's or children's, issue.  What is urgently needed are campaigns aimed at men - that challenge male attitudes and beliefs that underpin such widespread rape and abuse.  We need "better" men to rise up and challenge their fellow men.  Sexual violence shatters lives.  We need men to stop it!

"The world's leading WMD (weapon of mass destruction)?  The misused penis." 
- Denise Ritchie, Stop Demand Foundation