Name: Kritika Makhija
Bio: Pre-Primary School Coordinator, HVB Academy, Marine Drive, Mumbai, India
(Also, an ardent supporter of CHILDLINE)
My experience during the Child Sexual Abuse Session held by CHILDLINE at school will be etched in my consciousness for a long time. With fervent team members from CHILDLINE and support from the principal of HVB Academy, Marine Drive- Mrs. Pathak, we were able to conduct this session with children from grade 1 to grade 4.
I strongly believe that the use of flip charts and visuals were very effective and will have a longer lasting impact on the children. Apart from sharing concepts on safe and unsafe touch with the children and having them understand and respond to the sensitive subject of child sexual abuse, this session was an eye-opener and learning for the teachers and staff of our school.
As a parent/educator we believe we are in the position to make the right choices for our children. Sometimes, age should not necessarily be a barrier for discussing a subject with a child. When a child is curious about something and asks us a question that is probably the right time to answer his question. Evading a topic might not necessarily be the right approach to tackle a sensitive subject like child sexual abuse. Children are innocent and inquisitive beings who will ask a question to a stranger if he/she doesn’t get an answer from his/her parents/teachers.
CHILDLINE gave the teachers/staff of HVB Academy the opportunity to attend a workshop on CSA awareness, primarily for adults. We were shown videos and made to fill in surveys for them to understand our knowledge/understanding on the subject. To our amazement, we were told that the boy child was as much victim of sexual abuse as the girl child!
At the end of the session, I felt equipped enough to make a presentation for the teachers who could spread awareness on the topic with their students and also act as counselors to the children who came back with complaints. A lot of teachers had questions and comments. The concepts of sexual abuse, corporal punishment, mental and psychological abuse were all made clear.
I also plan to continue these sessions in school, in order to maintain an open forum for the children.
Today, I can very proudly say that my children at HVB Academy don’t hesitate to come to me or any other teacher if they see anything wrong happening around them. I have taught them to say
‘Please don’t do that, I don’t like it!’ in a firm voice to anyone who troubles them.
We have taken the first step towards the safety of our children with the guidance of the CHILDLINE team.
I would urge you to volunteer for the CSA awareness programme and help CHILDLINE in its endeavour to reach out to children who are victims to CSA.