Child Abuse Education - Who Is Responsible?
In my school years, i met many outsiders i.e. Van drivers, Barbars, Family friends and Teachers, who used to greet and meet with a physical contact. That physical interactions we never considered as a bad gesture, due to their positive perceptions in my family's mind.
Fortunately, i never faced any painful incident but if i were one of victims, i would never share with anyone, due to my introvert nature and communication gap with my family.
In Pakistan, majority of the children and even adults get sex education from out of home, as our families teach us how to dress up properly, how to eat, how to save money but never teach us openly on how to save ourselves from sexual predators.
On every birthday, our child is growing and learning new things over the past years, but we need to accept the fact that child may need smart phone this year, due to peer pressure and may not be prepared for the exposure of pornography or other adult's content.
My neighbor has two kids. His elder son used to go to Maulvi's place to recite Quran. One day, he felt pain and shared the sexual abuse experience, he faced since last month. Then whole society's committee members went to Maulvi's place and had serious conflict. That was the eye opening moment for other families and embarrassing moment for that kid's parents. Besides educating their child, people of our society started locking their children in their homes and cut all their healthy outdoor activities.
I have seen many families, who planned their children wedding, career and education so well as a future goal. Then why child abuse education is still at silent state, since the beginning?
Our schooling system is conventional and 267 not mentioned cases were reported last year, in which huge number of cases are appearing as pending cases, due to poor investigation and silence of families.
Now, here a question arises. If our families remain silent while sexual abuse, for submitting complaint against abuser, for sharing the message and discussing the matter within families, then how can we save our child from these unnoticed, cruel and free predators?
Our Pakistani media is taking initiatives by making serials on child abuse content, in order to share awareness especially for mothers. Few examples are Meri Guriya, Dar si jati hai Sila and Muqabil. But in my observation, mothers avoid watching these programs in front of their children or send them in different room to not share this content with them directly.
I believe that child abuse education begins at home by reducing the communication gap with child, by sharing the guideline in depth and most importantly by speaking up on this content with fellows, relatives and children. There should not be any nervousness, while doing something for our child's savior.
It is being observed that most of the abusers were mentioned as Acquaintance, (people we saw and met, but don’t know about them). Almost 752 cases were reported in acquaintance’s category last year, according to the data by Sahil NGO. So it has come to consideration now that abusers in Pakistan are usually connected with our families directly or indirectly and we still feel shy to educate our child regarding physical, sexual and verbal abuse.
But now, many NGOs, TV producers and other revolutionary groups have started sharing awareness through protests, campaigns and serials. This issue got more attention this year, after Zainab’s case of Kasoor. This news have touched many people’s sentiments and enrolled them in talking about child sexual abuse and education. My sister started guiding her girl kid on how to deal with strangers, maids and relatives.
In my personal observation, my mother is utilizing the social media, specially Facebook to guide me regarding child abuse and other sensitive issues, which I cannot discuss with my mother at home. So in my suggestion, when we all have our personal operating systems, we must utilize them to walk the talk and engage everyone in our circle to save maximum children and this is not only parent’s job, but siblings, friends, relatives and even children must be a part of this discussion on routine basis.
For me, this child abuse cases can be reduced if we as parents, would give room to our kids to talk about any strange acts, attempts or incidents they have experienced and government should make serious actions and examples to send a clear message to an upcoming abuser, if he/she would do any such act or find guilty, that punishment would get them into serious trouble.
Child abuse education does not require a degree or certificate, but a comfort and friendship between child and other family members, so that kid would not need to visit the wrong path and will discuss all the personal matters with family openly.