Naina Jha is the Program and Outreach Officer at Patna. She is a PR professional working with Greymatters Communications. She has worked with hospitals, advertising and PR agencies and has been working with ICWA to educate slum kids since 2005. She has also worked as a freelancer with Gender Resource Centre, Patna. She loves working for the uplifting of slum children and gender sensitisation and wishes to make this society a better place to live in. She is a budding writer, avid learner, traveller, and a happy soul. A sociology graduate who holds a masters degree in human resources, she has a few more degrees up her sleeves but most importantly she is a mother to a beatific little angel.
Creating Awareness about Child Sexual Abuse in Patna
Naina Jha conducted a workshop creating awareness about Child Sexual Abuse on 23rd June at S R Vidyapeeth School in Patna for the students of Standard 5. She writes,
“We began the workshop by introducing ourselves. To gauge their idea of abuse and safety, I asked them a few questions about their body and their idea of good and bad. I also asked them whether they knew what their private parts were, what they were called and enquired whether anyone had explained to them the concept of safe and unsafe touch. And I was hardly surprised to know that they were not aware of any of the above and we had to start from scratch.
We began by naming the various parts of the body while I explained to them the biological difference between men and women. To make it easier for them to understand with the help of visual aid, I showed them a video called Komal, which is available on Youtube. This video very simply and clearly explains what private parts are, who is allowed to touch them and when, the importance of identifying the difference between a safe and unsafe touch and what a child must do in the instance they are abused. The video also talked about good secrets and bad secrets. To check whether they had understood the video correctly I quizzed them by asking questions related to the video and was elated by their responses. They were all correct!
In order to ensure that they would be able to handle such situations in real life, if necessary, I told them a story about a little girl Deepa. The story was about a young girl who was being abused by her elder cousin brother, Dilip. He tricked Deepa’s mother by taking extremely good care of Deepa whenever she was all alone. But gradually he can abusing her, made her feel guilty and dirty about herself and harassed her into keeping a secret between them. All of this affected Deepa mentally, physically and academically. After I finished telling them the story, I asked them a few questions related to it. For example, How did Dilip trick Deepa’s mother? How did he stop Deepa from telling her mother what was happening? How did he make Deepa feel uncomfortable and in what ways did he make her suffer? The students got most of the answers right which was a good sign.
We then moved on to a game where the students were asked to make a list of their trusted adults. Most of the lists included their parents while a few write down the names of their siblings and friends as well and one child wrote down ‘teacher ‘which was both surprising and gratifying. I asked them about secrets and how one could define good and bad secrets. A few students shared their good secrets like eating ice cream without letting their parent knows. A boy answered that good secrets are those that did not cause anybody harm in any way and would be okay to keep such secrets to oneself. But bad secrets are those which were dangerous to oneself and others and could land them in trouble if not shared it with their parent, teachers or siblings. Then I asked them whether they could make out the differences in touch to which a girl replied that any touch that makes one uncomfortable, unhappy and irritated is bad or unsafe touch. It is an unsafe touch when someone gets abused. On the other hand, a boy explained that any touch that made them comfortable, happy and soothed them was a good touch. He quoted an example of his mother hugging him. I asked them what they would do if they were ever in a similar situation like the one ‘Deepa’ and Konal were in to which everyone shouted unanimously that they would shout for help.
After the session, the students were able to define and recognize abuse, threats and bribery. They learned how abuse could affect them, how to protect themselves from abuse and whom to approach if something happened to them. I also encouraged them to report and complain about the incident and the abuser without getting scared. By doing so, they will not help just themselves but also protect others from being harassed or abused. The highlight of the session was when every student promised to share their learning with their parents and especially, their friends, to create awareness about the same.”