Arpan is teaching Personal Safety in schools and it’s imperative parents teach their children the following key things:
Ø Rule 1: It is never alright for someone to touch, look at or talk about their private body parts except to keep them clean and healthy.
It is never alright for some one to ask the child to touch, look at or talk about their private body parts.
Ø Rule 2: If some one breaks this rule they must “SAY NO and RUN AWAY”.
Ø Rule 3: Tell a trusted adult about it and keep telling till they get the help they need.
Even if someone breaks this rule it is never the child’s FAULT.
Tips for parents:
· Keep open communication channels with children so that they come and share things that bother them.
· Don’t force them to kiss, hug people they don’t feel comfortable about.
· Keep vigilance on where the children are, who are their friends and the people around them.
· Most children don’t report sexual abuse. Look out for symptoms that can indicate something is wrong. Symptoms could be:
Social: Social Withdrawal ,Increased hostility or aggression ,Overly pleasing behavior ,Drastic change in achievement patterns.
Sexual: Sexualized behavior ,Early sexual activity,Use of abusive sexual language
Medical: Psychosomatic illnesses ,Pain or swelling in genital area,Repeated urinary infections
Psychological : Eating disorders ,Anxiety or Indifference ,Depression,Suicide attempts
The above symptoms are only indicative and do not necessarily mean the child has been sexually abused. Only with further probing when the child reveals can one be sure.
If abuse has happened believe what the child has disclosed and be positive and supportive. Tell the child it’s not his or her fault. Get the child away from the abuser and try and help to see that other children don’t become prey to the abuser as well.
Most importantly take help from mental and medical health professionals. Whilst most people seek medical help mental health is not thought of as very important. However, in cases of sexual abuse what is UTMOST important is mental health intervention. We often think the child will cope, forget about it and move on with life but this is far from truth. The truth is that the more time goes other complications manifest in the psyche of the individual leading to long lasting trauma as an effect of abuse that never seems to go away. The healing never happens with time. One never forgets. Hence the earlier the healing process is started the better it is for the individual. However not all children might require counseling as this depends on the severity of the abuse. Therefore, professional advise must be taken to decide what’s best for the child.
Arpan provides counseling services and can be contacted on +91.98190.51444 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.arpan.org.in
For children who’ve been sexually abused, life ends before it even begins. We as parents, adults in the society can at least do so much that we empower our children to prevent abuse and help them heal if it happens. If we are not able to do even this, then somewhere we adults have failed to provide the basic right a child has: to safety.
Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.