How can sexual crimes against children be stopped? Anuja Gupta, executive director, RAHI Foundation, joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.
Q. Its very difficult to identify sexual abusers from neighborhood and relatives. So, what are the steps should we take to prevent child-abuse at home-level? Asked by: Shobana
A. CSA prevention is firstly about how you relate to and treat children, the kind of bond you create with them. learn to listen to children, spend time with them, notice their likes and dislikes. respect them as individuals with rights whose opinion is asked for and counts. You have to educate yourself about the issue so you are not perpetuating any myths and can give accurate information. Speak about the issue openly in your family with all adults and young people and come up with strategies on how you can keep children safe. Remember, child protection is an adults responsibility and not a child's. Then you can teach children about private body parts when you teach them about other body parts, in normal and not hushed tones. Talk to children about safe and unsafe touches and feelings and create a space for them to come and tell you if they feel uncomfortable in any way, regardless of who the person is that is making them uncomfortable. Do not insist children should respect elders and obey them only because they are elders. Elders need to earn the respect and love of children. Basically, talk till it stops.
Q. Can poetry bring change in society? Asked by: Yaseen Anwer
A. Poetry can be a very powerful instrument of change, but it has to be located in a larger context of a movement.
Q. I think we need to provide safe transport facility to school children which has CCTV camera installed in them Asked by: Sathyaki
A. We need to see that children are safe everywhere. CCTV cameras will not do the job alone and is expensive. Prevention is about creating awareness on the issue and putting guidelines of child safety in place by adults.
Q. Do you feel in any way entertainment media contributes to crime in society specially sexual crimes? Asked by: Yaseen Anwer
A. Yes, it does contribute. Part of the social reasons as to why sexual violence takes place is because women and children, especially girls are sexualised by the media. We have a very high tolerance of this in our society and in fact this is promoted through films, ads, internet and so on. This creates what we call a 'rape culture'.
Q. What are the different steps needed to be taken by the government in the law and order space to ensure that such crimes do not take place? Asked by: Priya
A. The laws recently passed by the Government needs to be implemented. There needs to be a protocol laid out that needs to be followed in case CSA is reported. There has to be a penalty for not registering cases or being insensitive. This is true also of medical professionals who have to examine cases, lawyers and the judiciary. CSA is not a law and order problem as such but a social one and the government can do its bit by having strong protocols and policies and systems.
Q. How can sexual crimes against children be stopped? Asked by: Kamya
A. The solutions lies in the problem itself. Abuse thrives in silence, secrecy, ignorance, denial, shame and stigma. In order to stop sexual abuse, you have to remove these conditions. Talk about sexual abuse, don't be silent. Learn to listen to and respect children. Learn about the issue yourself as an adult or young person and teach children safety techniques such as the difference between safe and unsafe touches.
Q. How can the different sections of the society also contribute in this regard? Asked by: DK
A. Every section of society is responsible for stopping sexual crimes. So each adult and young person has to make it her/his responsibility and not think it is an issue that does not concern them or happens to others. Then action needs to be taken to raise awareness. Form groups that will educate themselves and others. For ex, if you are in a corporate set up, you can initiate programmes/talks on CSA in your company. We can help you in that. Similarly, every section of society needs to do what they can.
Q. Really worried about the rising incident against children. Why the government is inactive to these incident..what stops them from not taking any strict action against the culprits? Asked by: Vinod
A. I'm glad you are worried about these incidents. Perhaps you can think of what action you can take to stop these crimes? It's easy to look at the govt as if it is only their responsibility. this is the responsibility of every citizen. Action against culprits only come after the abuse has taken place. The Govt has to wake up to the reality of these crimes and play its role of having stringent accountability measures if culprits are not punished.
Q. hello Ma'am, why we see all kinds of sexual violence happening only in India. the right age for male to marry is 21 but they are legally eligible from 18, so R we not giving wrong message. Asked by: sam
A. Sexual violence against women and girls happen all over the world. India is not an exception. Sexual violence has nothing to do with marriage. Most child molesters are married men, so marriage is not an answer for prevention.
Q. What is one good solution to cultivate awareness? How such acts never existed in the 60s or 70s? Asked by: paresh
A. A good solution is to gather people you know in your family and neighbourhood and friends and hold talks on child sexual abuse. These acts have been existing since generations. We have women who come for help at our organisation RAHI who are 60 years old and have been abused when they were 4-5 years of age, which is over 50 years ago. This is not a new thing, it is only coming more to light now.
Q. What does Delhi child rape reveal about our society? Asked by: Isha
A. That our society is one in which women and children are not respected and are sexualised. It is a society that sanctions sexual violence. It is a society in which sexual abuse of little girls is happening every day in almost every few homes. It is a society where we are not willing to talk about these things and sex is taboo. It is a society that is getting increasingly violent and brutal and where everyone passes the buck to the other when it comes to doing something about this.