Transcript of Chat With Dilnavaz Bamboat

Ques. Are therapists legally obligated to report the offenders to the police? Does it deter the victims from therapists?

Ans.  In India, legal rules around CSA are still at a very nascent stage. The rules surrounding client therapist confidentiality are much stronger, esp abroad, so it would be a breach to report.

Ques. But teachers are mandated to report any suspected abuse, right? Wondering about possible laws in India

Ans. Yes, teachers need to report, but like I said laws around the subject are being crystallized only now.

Ques. Suppose a child is abused & it’s not talking but is afraid of something. What should we do in that case?

Ans. Trust needs to be established beforehand so channels of communication are fairly open. If gentle prodding doesn’t work seek professional help. If the child is too young to articulate, you may have to be a detective and see what’s up

Ques. What’s the right age for kids to be told about good touch and bad touch?

Ans. It obviously depends on the individual child but age 3 and up typically works. Talking about our bodies needs to be a conversation in progress, not a one-time sit-down-and-listen chat.

Q. Would you recommend therapy to every CSA survivor?

Ans.  No. Whether a person needs therapy depends on their individual needs, level of trauma and ability to cope.

Q. During therapy for a child, are the parents present?

Ans. No, not usually. Unless a child is more comfortable with parents around. For younger ones therapy is through play

Q. In the case of no therapy is required or sought for what basic steps do u suggest for healing?

Ans. First, ensure the abuse does not happen again. The child needs to feel safe and protected. Next, acknowledge the child’s feelings and help the child articulate his/her emotions.  Thirdly, keep the child away from the abuser at all costs & surround him with positive loving people whom he trusts. Fourth, just because the child does not talk about it, do not assume s/he has forgotten and moved on. The scars last

Q. If you suspect abuse in a family/neighbor’s home, what shd you ideally do?

Ans. Try to speak with a person you trust. If you have a rapport with the child, you may gently probe

Q. How does a therapist work with a CSA victim? It does depend on the degree of abuse?

Ans. It depends on the age of the child. With younger children, it is play-based, such as asking them to show you with dolls

Q. How do you counsel really young kids?

Ans. One advantage with very young children is that they are less likely to remember and therefore be less traumatized

Q. How important is to take the child to a therapist for assessment after he/she reports of abuse.

Ans. It is necessary and recommended. Unless the child is older (adolescent) and does not wish to go just then

Q. how does the therapy work if one of the parent itself is the abuser

Ans. Unless the parent and child had no relationship to speak of, it is a huge breach of trust and thus more painful. The techniques are not different, but the process of healing is likely to be if your primary caregiver is the abuser. Both parent and child need therapy-individually. Abroad, specialized intervention programs are mandatory for abusers

Q. If a family member or relative involved in abusing the child. Suggest the appropriate way plz

Ans. It isn’t uncommon for the abuser to be a family member. The child needs to be made to feel safe and protected, for starters. Keep child away from the person you suspect & ensure you drill good-touch-bad-touch into his head at an appropriate age

Q. If you need a therapist, how do you go about choosing one?

Ans. Ask your doctor or network of family/friends for a referral.

Q. What if you don’t want to talk about your abuse? If you want therapy to deal with abuse, how do you go about finding a therapist?

Ans. The internet can be helpful in that case. In India, there’s the RAHI Foundation and Tulir that work with survivors of CSA. You can contact a local NGO that typically works with children; they usually have a directory of therapists

Q. How do you counsel mentally challenged child?

Ans. That would depend on the child’s ability to process information. What IQ level are we addressing here?

Q. Can we go to police station and lodge a complaint to put the check on particular person’s future activity?

Ans. Yes. You can register a complaint against a sex offender but keep in mind that loopholes exist. The system is not foolproof

Q. What, to you, is the most important reason what the kids don’t talk about the abuse immediately after it occurs?

Ans. There are several equally valid reasons: fear of not being believed, a culture of blind obedience, guilt, Fear of not being believed, fear of breaking a ‘secret’ between the abuser and the victim, fear of further harm.  And the fear of being loved less for “stirring up trouble”. As Indians avoidance of social stigma is ingrained early.

Q. Sometimes parents know their child is abused but they keep quite! Any suggestion?

Ans. Silence only gives an impetus to abusers who will do this with impunity the next time around. Speak up. We have a fear of social stigma and thrive on a culture of silence about sex-related issues. We’re the country of the Great Indian Family, which makes it awkward to pin point blame on typically blameless to-be-respected elders. Also women do not have decision-making powers in many families.

Q. You think therapy will help a decade later?

Ans. It can, in some cases. It helps you process latent emotions, repressed memories and see patterns in your behaviors.

Q. how important is the involvement of ur family incase u decide to go for therapy years later?

Ans. It depends on whether you hold them responsible, whether you as an adult want them to be part of it. If you need closure, acknowledgement & healing you want them to know you are going through the process

Q. How aware are parents in India about the need for therapy after CSA and how resistant are they to the concept?

Ans. Parents typically view therapy/counseling as a new-fangled, ‘western’ concept, especially in Tier 2 cities. In the metros, though, especially among the mobile middle and upper middle classes, the concept is being accepted.

Q. about when parents insist on being present during therapy or undo effects at home?

Ans. The process is certainly tougher then. The child’s got it hard. There’s only so much a therapist/teacher/external can do. But, sadly, parents not acknowledging how critical this can be to the child’s healing is an oft-repeated story.

Q. Do you know of any good therapist in Delhi?

Ans. Not off the top of my head, but I can check with my colleagues in India and revert to the CSA awareness team

Q. Should I be policing my children in order to keep them safe from any kind of abuse?

Ans. Policing will bring about resentment at a certain stage. There’s a fine line between being watchful and paranoid. Be aware

Q. How can a parent work with a CSA victim at home, in tandem with the therapist?

Ans. Firstly, ensure the child never has to endure the abuse again, and if possible, never encounter the abuser either. Secondly, acknowledge feelings and the behaviors that may result from the trauma. Put your child’s feelings into words for him/her if s/he is too young to articulate well. Seek pro help. Surround your child with trusted people who love and support the child so s/he relearns/rebuilds trust in the world. Keep the dialogue open but don’t keep pushing the subject if the child is trying to move past it. Feelings will not disappear and may resurface years later in multiple ways, so remember that.