“Didi, I saw in the park that a boy was walking behind a girl, then he hit her behind her back, then he started walking beside her and forcing himself on her. She was trying to shout for help, but he was constantly threatening her. She didn’t stop and then people helped her. I know she had suffered a lot before too” says a 12 years old participant.
The sixth and most crucial workshop “Child sexual abuse” with participants from Govt. school Dwarka was organized just after the session on ‘gender’. By this session, the participants are getting comfortable with body changes, the attraction they feel towards other sex, peer pressure, their own body and most importantly they understand the gender stereotypes around both girls and boys hence this is the right time to talk about abuse and violence that children face in form of child sexual abuse.
The session began with screening of the video “Komal” by Child line followed by detailed discussion on child sexual abuse and hinting of POCSO act.
“Didi, I have seen something like this in serials like Savdhaan India, crime petrol”
“Gumrah the one that comes on Channel V also showed something like this”
We then invited the participants to share any incident/ experience of child sexual abuse that might have happened to them or they might have seen.
“I saw a woman being molested by group of boys, she seemed scared”
“A boy was harassed and molested by group of boys”
“Lot of such incidents happen near and inside the park where lot of people come, I have seen a girl being molested by a man”
It took a while for the participants to share their stories, however one person opening up gave strength to other and the chain followed. We could actually see few more faces who wanted to share but something was stopping them, however they seemed relieved hearing constantly that “it’s not your fault”, “you don’t deserve this” “We are there with you”
One of the major objective of the workshop on “Child sexual abuse” is to aware the participants about it, along with this the other most crucial step is to build their capacity to challenge CSA which involves engaging with “Safety action plan”. This is detailed workbook filled with pictures, stories, safety rules- good touch, bad touch, what to do when someone tries to touch inappropriately. It was really interesting and motivating to see that they were actually saying things aloud in synchronicity- each step was building in a way that they were ready to challenge gender based violence, along with the awareness that if nobody can touch them inappropriately, they too shouldn’t be engaging in touching or violating other people’s space and body.
It was an intense and overwhelming experience to be sitting in the circle sharing and hearing what children of age 11-14 years old witness and experience around them in form of violence.