A person always knows which touch is good and which one is not. But you cannot say the same about children. They are quite vulnerable when it comes to sexual awareness. You might see kids touching each other or even showing their private parts to each other. The consequence of a sexual encounter at such a tender age ends up having serious implications and traumatic when the child grows up. In India, parents are always an active partaker in the lives of their children, addressing all their needs and problems. But when it comes to sexual awareness, they step back. This leads to children encountering situations they are not equipped to deal with due to lack of awareness. The first person to discuss sex education with them should be the parent who can explain the good and the bad in a confidential and safe space to young minds.
Smile Foundation, with a Mission Education partner, conducted a sexual awareness session at the Noida center. More than 220 children attended the session and were involved in discussion on their sexuality as well as the need of awareness around the wrong sexual encounter.
Sexual abuse of the children can be happen in any form – physically, visually or mentally. If someone is touching them inappropriately, or someone is making them touch themselves in a wrong way, or if children are asked to see something which is not proper comes in the category of sexual abuse.
Such cases are increasing every year. With more than 19,000 child rape cases have been registered all over the country under the Indian Penal Code and Protection of Children From Sexual Offences (POSCO) act and 36,000 cases of child sexual abuse, yet most of the cases go unreported. This makes such sessions on sexual rights awareness even more important to protect our children.
The awareness session also gave instances about the different scenarios in which such sexual abuse might take place. It might be school, home, lanes, or even at your relative or friend’s place. Most of the incidences taking place involve someone already acquainted with children which makes it even more difficult and confusing for the children to talk about the trauma to their parents or any adult. Communicating to the children that any such kind of abuse or discomfort situation must be first disclosed to parents or any elder trustworthy by the children is a step closer to making them safer and also avoiding even graver form abuse.
Taking children into confidence and providing them with a safe and trustworthy environment to open up about their sexuality and most importantly the abuse some of them might have encountered in the past is of acute necessity in the present times. As these sessions end, it is observed that the children also find facilitators and care givers trustworthy and someone with whom they can share their secrets. They tend to open up to these caregivers and also find themselves in a place where they can seek support as well as justice in case of abuse.
Smile Foundation intends to end the stigma associated with sex education and sexual abuse including to provide all the children with an open and safe space to grow in. Together with the support of like-minded partners like Parwarish Care Foundation, Smile hopes to bring a day where no child faces the trauma and pain of sexual abuse and what it leads to as he/she grows up.