Workshop creating awareness about Child Sexual Abuse

Devina Buckshee is the Program and Outreach Officer at Safecity. She is a recent MA (hons) graduate of Sociology and International Relations from the University of Edinburgh. She is deeply interested in academic research and public policy, specifically gender mainstreaming and development related work. As an intersectional feminist and writer, she believes in bringing her skills of ethnography, journalism and documentation to give a voice to the people who need it most. In the past, she has worked on projects with refugees in Scotland (http://www.livedprojects.org//, https://refuweegee.co.uk/) and Germany, and with the Godrej India Culture Lab in Mumbai. She is also a huge animal lover and enjoys travelling with her dog Chaos.

Workshop creating awareness about Child Sexual Abuse 

Counsellor and trainer Ritu Verma conducted a session creating awareness about Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) among 45 children from the Centre for Study of Social Change (CSSC) Summer Camp aged 5-13 years on Tuesday, 16th May.

The session started with a familiar and fun game called ‘DANGER’, with one child blindfolded trying to catch her friends while the rest of the children would shout out DANGER to warn her if she’s about to hit anything. This lead to a series of discussions on danger and safety, and the everyday precautions we take to keep ourselves safe, at home and outside.

One girl brought up an important point: ‘Koi stranger se nahi baat karna hai!’. Discussions on stranger danger, defining a stranger and the steps to take if we feel unsafe followed. One boy spoke about what he does, “Try to find an adult”. Ritu then told them an adapted story of Red Riding Hood and spoke about the value of having a safe, trusted adult to confide in.

We then went through a presentation on body parts, specifically underlining the difference of private body parts. The children yelled out their different private parts in an effort to get comfortable saying these terms. This was an important moment in breaking the silence, as vocalizing body parts strips away the shame and stigma attached to them as well.

The concept of consent was introduced, as was the difference between a safe and unsafe touch. The children then yelled out NO, to train them to respond to an event of abuse. They were taught of the steps to take: to yell loudly, to run away, and go tell a trusted adult until they listened and responded. To reiterate this point, Childline’s brilliant short film ‘Komal’ was screened. The children laughed, and listened intently to the entire clip and repeated the Childline national helpline 1098 after as well.

We ended our interactive session with a short story, re-emphasizing the difference in private body parts, and the steps to take to counter and deal with the different forms of abuse.

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