In this episode of Open Secret with RJ Padma Priya, Ashwini N.V breaks down the ‘SAFETY RULES’ that can help us understand childhood sexual abuse well.
‘SAFETY’ – The word can be broken down into:
‘S’ – Speak quotient.
If anyone tries to touch a child’s private parts, talk to a child in an inappropriately sexual manner, use sexual words around a child, and any other such unacceptable behaviour pattern is considered sexual abuse. It goes beyond just touching. If any child observes any of these disturbing things happening to or around them, they must go and address it to their elders.
‘A’ – Alone quotient.
Creating time and space for a child to be alone, and speaking to a child when they are on their own, and not just among other known people.
‘F’ – Fear Quotient
This refers to using fear to make a child not reveal sexual abuse, or repeat a behaviour, or making them agree to something by threatening to fail them in exams. Children should be observant of such fear tactics and report them to trusted adults.
‘E’ – Electronic device quotient.
This includes all electronic devices that host social media apps where children risk being abused virtually. Random people can share abusive content through comments on photos and by sharing inappropriate quotes and pictures with them.
‘T’ – Touch quotient.
Children should be well aware of the different kinds of touch that they can be exposed to. Touching their private parts, tightly holding children’s lips for a long time, kissing them by holding them tightly, holding their thighs tightly are all actions that constitute abuse. Children should be taught to inform their parents if any discomfort is felt.
‘Y’ – Your institution quotient.
For a few children, being around certain strangers or even persons known to them will be uncomfortable, even when they have not done anything. In such circumstances, children will not agree to stay near that person or go to such a place.
‘RULES’ – The word can be broken down into:
‘R’ – Rewards quotient.
This stands for gifting the person. Abusers use giving gifts as one of the tricks of buying a child’s silence. Children should be taught to reject unnecessary and costly gifts given to them by a person.
‘U’ – Undress quotient.
This stands for changing dress in front of children and hiding and watching when children are changing their clothes. We may think that these are not abused tricks but actually, the thoughts of abusers are different. So cautions need to be taken.
‘L’ – Look quotient.
This stands for abuse through looks. Watching them changing dress, taking a bath, showing porn videos to children and so on constitute abuse. Children should be taught to be aware of their surroundings and of such people.
‘E’ – Encourage secrets.
Sharing secrets with children is an abuse trick. Abusers usually can manipulate their targets into sharing family secrets with them and then blackmail them against revealing the abuse.
‘S’ – Season quotient.
Holding children tightly though they won’t like it.
Bengaluru-based Muktha Foundation has conducted detailed research and come out with these rules to raise more awareness about childhood sexual abuse. Teaching children only about good touch and bad touch isn’t enough. We all must share these details with everyone and be aware of cyber abuse as well as it is happening on a large scale nowadays.
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