Do you also struggle while teaching your children how to protect themselves against child abuse? If yes, then read on!
Child abuse is when an adult uses a minor for sexual pleasure and stimulation. As a result, those who suffer show more unsafe sexual behaviours and are more prone to undergo more incidents of sexual victimization. According to Sahil’s Cruel Numbers 2020 Report, a total of 2960 were reported in Pakistan last year. But these are just ones that were reported, so there are thousands of cases left unrecorded and untreated.
On 7th October 2021, the book launch of ‘The Superhero Is You’ by Jasmine Abraham took place at the author’s resident. At this event, many people from different fields sat together and discussed the cause and prevention of Child abuse. Guess who was the chief guest at this event? Yes, our favourite singer and educationalist, Shehzad Roy!
Shehzad Roy’s Take On Child Abuse
Shehzad Roy says that in 90% of cases, the offender is one of the family members or someone closely related to the child. Therefore it’s integral to save the victim and raise a voice against the incident by reporting it to child protection authorities. However, the child’s family tends to say they will forget about it once they are married – which according to Roy is unfinished business that only damages the victim’s mental and physical well-being forever.
Mr Shehzad says ‘Zindagi Trust’ has been working on this issue since 2010. Furthermore, NGO ‘Aahung’ and other social welfare organisations have also played a vital part in helping them. He states how 1 out of 5 people have been through an abusive situation in their life, but they rarely report it or talk about it with professionals who can help them regardless of all the efforts made by NGOs and relevant authorities.
Shehzad Roy says that the state is always willing to educate the citizens on child abuse, but society is never ready. According to him, whenever we indulge in providing education in schools, the staff says that parents don’t allow it as they think it’s wrong and disturbing.
Author Jasmine Abraham’s Remarks On Child Protection Education
Jasmine Abraham is an educationalist herself and she wishes to make books on child protection a part of the curriculum. While talking about the description of her book ‘The Superhero Is You’, she talks about safe and unsafe touch rather than good or bad touch. Furthermore, her methodology to use more conventional vocabulary is to ensure that children understand in a more precise and better way. Moreover, she also talks about the term “my body, my rule” to encourage kids for screaming ‘NO’ to any act of discomfort.
Ms Abraham clarifies that child abuse happens to children from all backgrounds. She further says that it doesn’t matter if you are from a more privileged family as your children still aren’t immune from getting abused. Hence, all the kids in the world are at risk of facing sexual victimization. Moreover, she emphasizes that children need to understand how to protect themselves instead of being vulnerable and guilty.
Jasmine also says that education about body safety should be provided at schools and homes because this is not something to let go of. Furthermore, she explains that young children find body parts funny and silly. Therefore, it’s better to teach them how to protect themselves in an appropriate way. Hence, parents need to play a huge role in educating their children alongside the education system so that together we can make society a safer place for our kids.
What Is The Book About?
‘The Superhero Is You’ is penned by Jasmine Abraham and was published by Reverie Publishing this year. It is specifically for kids and their loved ones. It is a bilingual guide (English and Urdu) divided into two sections, one for children and one for adults, that educates children and their families about child abuse and how to keep oneself safe from any harm. It offers a safe space for families to broach the subject of child sexual abuse and makes it more accessible and easier to comprehend.
The first section throws light on the concepts of body safety and physical interaction of children. The book is structured based on ten rules. For example, rule#1 says: You are the boss of your own body – introducing the concept of bodily autonomy to children. Furthermore, the illustrations in the book play a vital role in understanding the rules and how to follow them.
However, that’s not all! The second section is for parents, teachers, or guardians and helps them understand the signs that the kid might be in distress. Furthermore, the pages at the end have contacts of medical authorities, safety authorities, and NGOs to report in case of an emergency.
Child Abuse Is A Taboo Topic In Our Society!
This our responsibility, just like violence on women and Menstrual health, child abuse shouldn’t be also be neglected. However, lawmakers and NGOs have been working hard to provide a safer space for children in Pakistan, but the families aren’t too happy about it. The reason behind the families’ insecure mindset is that they fear bad reputation and the haw-hayes from our desi society. However, it is important now more than ever, that we rid ourselves of that mindset and prioritize the safety of our children!
To conclude, child protection education should be made compulsory in schools and parents need to be more vigilant and have constructive dialogues with their children in order to help them navigate the world safely. We hope you are also rooting for a better and safer Pakistan and will play your part in spreading awareness!
Resources used in this article includes: Cruel Numbers 2020