1 in 10 kids suffer child abuse.
1 in 100 kids tell their parents about the abuse.
These statistics are scary and for me as a parent, they are already giving me sleepless nights. So what if I am a mother to two boys? I recently learned that in a case study done the percentage of boys abused was 51.9% , remarkably higher than the girls. We, in fact even myself am a more relaxed parent as I have boys, but when I see stats like these, it’s alarming!
Recent events child sexual abuse in an Andheri school and another incident in Bangalore has left me shaken as a mom. The question comes to us, are our kids not even safe at school? School was believed to be our ‘second home’ when we were growing up, now I am not so sure if I can say the same confidentially for my kids. At least these incidents were reported by kids. I shudder to think of kids who do not have the confidence to tell their parents of any abuse, who don’t even understand what’s happening with them. These molesters are lurking around everywhere and sometimes they are even people we know well. How do I keep my child safe?
When I heard of this live event hosted by, Fathima Khader who is a certified Parent Counselor and the founder of EvolveED. Ayushi Srivastav from Doctors’ Circle, I went and talked about it all over my social media and trust me I did it for myself and for parents like me.
Kids are the symbol of human innocence and it’s our responsibility to let no harm touch our kids – be it physical, mental or sexual.
I could not participate in the live event but today went through the entire 1.30 live feed and actually saw it for three hours to share with you. It’s an eye opener and you should all watch it. I will be leaving a link. Some of the topics she covered;
Fatima’s opening statement was impactful and I was all ears ;
How safe a child is, depends on his or her relationship a parent builds with the child
What is being safe?
A child’s view of being safe can be;
“I am safe when I am around people who love me and care for me”
It is a question you should ask your child so that when you feel
Let your child have an opinion and a say
Every time we tell the child not to say ‘NO’, we are taking away his or her power to use it with someone else. How will he/she say not to the molester?
The abusers isolate the child from their family and then gain the child’s confidence.
While on a topic of Child security in school, Fatima also discussed
Child safety in school
Guidelines to follow;
Have CCTV in all classrooms
There should be No dark rooms in school
Teachers are not allowed to send kids out of the class for punishments
No child is allowed to be send away with anyone unknown to the school, or without an ID card
Each school should have child protection officer and child safety commission and a counsellor(educating and talking to kids about such incidents)
I wasn’t aware but there is a POCSCO (THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL OFFENCES) act of 2012 which identifies abusers. I urge all parents to go through it. It talks about ;
Aggravated Penetrative assault
So what is to be done when u feel a child is being abused or know is being abused? You should approach a district penetrative officer. You need to know who your district penetrative officer is. Or go to the Police Station and tell them that this might be happening.
Parents and schools need to work in collaboration
Sadly the schools and parents are not working collectively to keep the child safe both are working independently when they need to work in tandem.
There are schools where parents volunteer to the child protection policy of the schools like;
They stand at the end of the corridors to check the child is safe
They travel with the school teachers on field trips to ensure the same
Who is a vulnerable child?
A child who is very quiet and isolated is a target. A child who lacks communication. A family where you are not spoken about sexuality and body. Where the child is shut down citing ;
Respect is more important than anything.
This statement was a shocker for me too!
Someone with self-worth will actually reveal the abuser. So the abuser targets the quiet one. So as a parent empower your child with positive reaffirmations, talk to them openly about abuse.
Please make sure you spend time engaging the child. Give them a free hand and listening ear.
We cant protect the child all the time we can only empower them to take care of themselves and keep an alert fo tell tale signs.
What are the Symptoms of abuse?
One is physical symptom and the other is emotional sign
Physical will be in form of bruises on the genitals or vagina
- Bubbly child withdrawing. Sucking thumbs.
- A child who is very watchful and scared. Not open to doing things.
- Stops eating while they had a good appetite earlier.
- Starts layering or wearing extra clothes to protect himself or starts dressing provocatively.
- Using words that are age inappropriate , behaving inappropriately.
- Sometimes an abused child starts doing that to those around him. He may not understand.
- When the child doesn’t want to go to school. Sometimes we should dig further as to why? Of course without panicking or showing our stress.
- Sleepless nights and bed wetting of nightmares.
Sometimes you may see these symptoms when there is a verbal or emotional abuse. So as a parent what can you do? You should get in touch with the school counsellor and talk to the higher school authorities.
Is Teacher hitting a child is physical abuse?
Yes, as it also affects them emotionally. You can take it up with the higher school authorities but please have a calm approach to such issues as the schools get wary of bullish parents. Please remember schools also want the best for your child.
Finally, these are all my learnings from the video that was live streamed on 22nd September highlighting the issues.
Do watch this video by Fatima and Doctor’s circle;