The Good, Bad & the Ugly

When I heard about the second year of CSA, I knew I had to contribute. Last year, I had written about my own experience. Yes, I was a victim. Yes, I was once abused as a kid. And yes, like most victims, I too chose to remain silent. To the extent that I spoke about it first only on this platform. It took me over two decades of my life to accept it. Or rather acknowledge it.

I write this post for my daughter. She will turn 5 in May. As she slowly takes a step every day from the protective confines of her home, a small part of me starts worrying more and more. And that small part will soon grow big. I have to curb my fears. To make her learn, and in the process learn myself.

According to the World Health Organisation, child sexual abuse is the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, or that violates the laws or social taboos of society. My daughter may still be too small to understand it. Or perhaps she would. I still don’t know. At 8, I knew what happened with me wasn’t normal. So, I think at 5 you too shall comprehend the bad touch.

I shall just write about good touch and bad touch for the parents and for myself. To tell you over and over again.

  1. If it makes you feel bad, then it is a bad touch.
  2. No body should hug or kiss you without your consent. Not even family.
  3. Tell the child what private parts are and that no one should touch them there. While giving the logic that those which cannot be publicly displayed or touched are private parts, yet the child should be made to understand that a bad touch can be on the cheek as well. A peck on the cheek is different from a kiss on the lips. Teach your child the difference.
  4. Teach the child to share with you every possible detail of his or her day. Kids are impatient but prod them with questions in a story format and they will answer.
  5. Stories, yes that’s how I talk to my daughter. Tell her stories and she is all ears. Through stories you can teach the child the importance of sharing everything with parents.
  6. Kids watch television and they may pick up images of sexual intimacy through films, advts, etc. Let the impressionable minds not be distorted with any explanations. If they are curious and ask you questions give upright answers. Don’t cook up a cock-and-bull story.
  7. It is essential not to instill a fear of strangers. At the same time the child shouldn’t get psyched into believing that any gesture from strangers isn’t always bad.
  8. Keep talking at regular intervals, reassuring them that they can confide in you always.
  9. Any kind of sexual abuse, even within the family, should be dealt with sternly and in the open.
  10. Teach them to respect their bodies. The child shouldn’t be ashamed of his or her body. Never.