Anuja Gupta’s TwitChat Transcript
We had an amazing response to the twitchat we did with Anuja Gupdta from RAHI Foundation yesterday on twitter, below is a transcript of the chat. We intent to do another chat soon and will keep u guys posted.
The CSAAM Team
Ans : Before kids can confront abusers or be expected to, parents have to empower themselves and kids to come and tell them about it, so kids have to be provided a safe and believing environment where they can disclose. once that happens it is best that adults confront abusers and not leave it to children because that can be very traumatic
Ques : Hi Anuja. If a child confides in you and begs for help but on the condition that you won’t involve his parents, what to do?
Ans : This is a tricky situation. first you need to know if the abuser is a parent or what is the reason that the child does not want you to tell parents. your intervention will be different if a parent is an abuser or not.
Ques : suppose the abuser is not the parent. The child wants it to stop (by a relative) but is too ashamaed to face the parents yet
Ans : the idea is in all cases to be able to keep confidentiality of a child but also let her/him know that for her/his safety you may need to let a parent know. if a child is ashamed to tell her/his parent, one would work through the shame and bring the child up to it.
Ques : What are the long term repercussions of CSA?
Ans: CSA affects every area of a person’s life: emotional, physical, sexual, mental. for eg, intimacy and trust gets affected so as a result, relationships are difficult to form, sexual life is affected as well. a survivor may have multiple sexual partners or not want to have sex. self esteem and self worth is severely affected, a survivor feels dirty, damaged and different. sense of self is distorted. there could be frequent illnesses, eating problems, self harm.
Ques : what are the legal implications of teacher (for eg) when they suspect abuse? are they mandated by law to report it?
Ans : In india, there is no such law so the teacher is not under any legal obligation. when a case of abuse is known, she/school. needs to deal with it with the best interest of the child in mind. teachers need to be trained on how to do this.
Ques : My daughter is 2.5, how can I introduce the topic of safe touch etc with her?
Ans : its imp you teach you daughter the concept of touch with simple non abuse related examples such as a mother’s hug is a good touch, someone pulling her hair is a bad touch. get kids to recognise feelings, teach them names for private parts and tell them who can touch them and who cant, set up touching rules and tell them they can come and tell you if they feel uncomfortable no matter who the person is and even if it is not touch but a look or anything.
Ques : Can I make an anonymous report of abuse?
Ans : do you mean if you can report abuse you know is happening to someone else? if so, remember that this can betray confidentiality. it is important not to take action on someone else’s behalf without that person’s consent
Ques : How important is it for CSAsurvivor to confront her abuser once shes an adult? Does confronting help her get a closure?
Ans : this is a decision that each survivor makes for her/his self. for some people confrontation is necessary for closure, for for others it is not. we do not encourage people to disclose unless they feel they have the resources to handle the consequences that can be negative, i.e. the abuser may turn around and say she/he is lying or or she/he may not get any support or apology or acknowledgement she/he may be seeking. this is difficult to handle, so a survivor needs to be prepared to confront.
Ques : What are the implications of the proposed legislation against CSA.
Ans : the proposed law is firstly finally a recognition of a social problem in all its dimensions. it will provide an opportunity for legal redressal. the new law should be able to cover a wide range of sexual behaviours that can be damaging and not limit abuse to penetration.
Ques : Is it Ok to teach kids about body parts by showing them pictures? I am afraid what thinking that might develop?
Ans : a lot depends on how you are giving out information. if you are embarassed around sexuality, the child will pick that up. the child will not get a wrong message unless you give it. so your level of comfort is very imp.
Ques : How to reduce the risk of CSA, is it really decreasing?
Ans : the only way to reduce risk to CSA is to talk about it, educate oneself, empower kids to be assertive say no, set safety rules, learn about the issue yourself, deal with own biases and prejudices on this issue and yes, of course it will help to protect children. abuse happens also because there is silence & denial.
Ques : How do you stand up for yourself when your abusers outnumber you and are much bigger than you? How do you get out of that situation
Ans : this is a difficult one, and often happens. the victim/survivor needs help to do this. see if there is anyone who you can trust, who can join you in this. together one can work at a strategy on how to do this. if there is no one you feel you can trust, this is where agencies like ours come into the picture so we can help the person build resources required
Ques : Hi Anuja, if a friend confides in me that she was abused as a child, what kind of support can I and should I give her?
Ans : tell her you are sorry this happened. deal with your own feelings of inadequacy/helplessness, ask her what help she/he needs she/he will tell you what they need from you. just being there, listening without being judgmental, validating her/his feelings is a good start
Ques : Anuja, if a teenager does complain to parents abt abuse but they take no action,what advise would you give the teen?
Ans : first it will be imp to deal with the feelings of betrayal, anger or any other that the teen is going through. to tell parents or anyone you depend on for action, and not be believed is very traumatic at any age. so i would focus on that and then work on what is the next step the teen wants to take. always give choices to make decisions to the teen.
Ques : Anuja what about mutual exploration among children? This is not CSA per se but related.
Ans : hi, mutual exploration is not CSA as you rightly said. it is not even related because this is mutual. it becomes abuse or a matter of concern only if one person is imposing and another is uncomfortable. sometimes a thin line can be crossed, i.e. sexual exploration can become abusive. key is one person doesn’t want it. otherwise sexual exploration amongst kids is natural part of sexual development.
Ques : hi, how to deal with abuse incidents at schools, kids refuse to divulge much on in-campus incidents of abuse?
Ans : kids refuse to divluge and rightly so because there is no reason for them to believe.