My experience in spreading the word about CSA by Girish Sharma

My Experience in Communicating.
I’m pursuing my under-graduation from Symbiosis, Pune. In the last activity it was told to reach out or in the community and talk about child sexual abuse. In the light of Covid-19, I planned of circulating google form in my college in which complete anonymity of the participants was kept. The questionnaire was designed in a way that participants don’t hesitate in writing anything. The results were not shocking but were rather obvious, out of 63 responses 47 experienced child sexual abuse in one or the other form.
Out of 63 responses, 42 were female, 17 were male and 4 preferred not to say. If we analyse from the responses that I got, 1 out of every 1.5 person have experienced child sexual abuse, which is surprisingly an alarming number.
After collecting this data, I called my friends who are very close in my circle to know if they are aware of the basic statistics related to sexual abuse and the helpline numbers. Majority of my friends didn’t know about the specific helpline numbers dedicated for child sexual abuse, most of them were aware of police helpline number only, viz 100.
After talking to 13 of my friends, I was successful in building up the conversation like the instructions given in the webinar. I progressed with general conversation then delivered some facts and then asked them about their experiences and what they have to say. Below stated are words of some of my friends and I’m quoting,
1. “Women are asked disgusting and invasive questions by the people who are supposed to protect them”.
2. “There is no proper mechanism in place for IPV cases.”
3. “Sexual abuse of men is trivialised and not taken seriously
4. “In a traditional Indian household talking about sex is like some kind of haram. Parents are not teaching their children about sexual education. Boys who learn about sex on their own, sometimes get a different perception about it.”
5. “Ideology of amalgamating the basic concept of equal rights and the offense of “abuse” of whatsoever kind.”
6. “It doesn’t take strict action against everyone, there are always some loopholes. Everything has to be brought into light to make people grow more aware of their surroundings and watch out for their behaviour.”
During the process of spreading awareness I was successful in making them aware about the mandatory reporting under POCSO Act, Childline no. 1098, justice is delivered even if it takes some time giving the example given by Amar Lal in one of the webinars.
The process of talking to friends and family regarding child sexual abuse was indeed intimidating but with the help of material developed during this programme by myself and by fellow volunteers it was not a tough job to do that. I myself overcame the taboo of speaking about child sexual abuse and how there are 100s predators sitting behind screen to molest and harass the children. There was sense of responsibility I felt while creating awareness, and most of the times we(youth) do feel that there is enough awareness present what we lack is quick action. Originally there is absence of awareness; not knowing the facts, being ignorant to online abuse, considering it a taboo all are the examples of it. Widespread awareness is required and the best way to spread awareness is word of mouth.
I would like to thank KSCF and BBA for giving organising this programme to spread awareness.
Girish Sharma

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