Delhi: It is not uncommon to come across news reports of child abuse and child sexual abuse (CSA) on a regular basis from across the country. India is home to about 19 per cent of the world's children and according to official Government data, four children in India are sexually assaulted every hour.
A digital campaign aimed at CSA prevention is trending currently across social media platforms that aims at making adults aware of the various aspect of CSA and empower them to protect children from this evil pandemic. This campaign has already caught the attention of celebs like Shabana Azmi, Sandhya Mridul and Anupam Kher, which further highlights the need to always be mindful in regards to CSA, especially if you are a parent or have a child under your care.
An initiative by ActionAid India, JoinTheDots, was launched digitally recently. It opens with a mother’s narrative showcasing a strong bond with her son, threaded together by their intimate and candid moments. The campaign further highlights subtle signs of behaviour change in the child that parents unintentionally tend to ignore, considering it normal.
The video points out that the behavioural signs of a sexually abused child can be very similar to the signs caused due to other conditions or stress, physical or mental. It emphasises on the need for adults to notice even the most subtle changes in the behaviour of children that can occur due to sexual abuse and address the situation in time. The campaign encourages adults to address such violence with a call to action to “See, Listen and Act.”
Parents and guardians must encourage a culture of regular communication with their children, so that they are well acquainted with all the aspects of their life. JoinTheDots is unique as it approaches the issue of CSA not only from a informative but practical perspective as well. The campaign video leads to a ‘Conversation Starter Tool’ on the website: www.jointhedotsnow.com. The tool is an active conversation box, which enables an interesting conversation that should take place between a responsible adult and the child in her/his care ideally.
Through this tool, the child can speak about the various different worlds she/he inhabits and talk about her/his every day life. The conversation box also helps the child learn about the emotions and feelings of the adult and this two-way communication process is truly empowering for the adults, helping them recognise as well as prevent CSA.
Elaborating on the campaign, Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director, ActionAid India said, “Over the years we have worked with allied organisations, the administration and policymakers to bring change on the ground for the protection, nutrition, and education of children. Children’s vulnerability will remain till children in all contexts are recognised as equal citizens. In the family, this calls for children being listened to and their interests being considered as equal, if not of paramount interest. Through the JoinTheDots campaign, we want to help adults see, listen and act in the best interests of children.”