“We are with you, my child”

posted in: Parenting, Social Issues | 11

As a parent, we always try our best to prepare our kids against sexual predators and molesters. We talk to them about appropriate vs. inappropriate touch, we practice role plays, we give them strategies as to what to do in those situations and we pray hard that nothing such would ever happen to our beloved kid.

But what if someday the unthinkable, unspeakable does happen. What if your kid comes and tells you that he was touched in a way he didn’t feel comfortable. Or what if you yourself have a gut feeling that something is possibly going on with your child, or a friend’s kid or someone in family you know. How do you react? What actions do you take? Who do you talk to? Do you talk to your child or confront the person in question?

In this blog, let’s try to answer the above questions.

Child abuse is a heinous crime that often goes unnoticed, undetected and unpunished. Specially in a country like ours a lot of people try to hide it even if they get to know about it. If you are a parent, a teacher, a neighbor, a family member or even a stranger who get to know about something like this, it’s your moral and civic responsibility to act on it.  The following are some things we can & should do if we suspect child abuse for our kid or any other kid we know.

  • Try to identity the signs before you talk to the child

If you think a child is victim to abuse, try to look for signs as proof to know for sure. You might notice some behavioral, physical or verbal cues. Seeming frightened, sudden thumb sucking, refusing to take a bath or refusing to eat, sleep disturbance or nightmares etc can be some behavioral cues. Bleeding or bruising of genital area, broken bones etc are some physical and very evident physical signs. Sudden silence, talking too less or talking too adult for their age are some verbal cues.

  • Talk to the child

Make sure to talk to the child in a non-threatening way to make sure the kid opens up to you. Pick a place where the child might feel comfortable talking about it.

Make sure you don’t sound in any way that you are blaming the child in any ways. Do not sound too serious or too scared yourself. In no case get emotional or outburst during the conversation.

Sometimes the child might be made to feel by the abuser that he is enjoying it, thus asking questions like “Is someone hurting you?” might not get answers. You need to make sure you ask direct questions such as “Did someone touch you / your privates?” This will work well if you in past have been having ongoing conversation about appropriate and inappropriate touch with your child (Refer the blog Let’s talk “Appropriate vs. Inappropriate touch” –  https://shashaworld.wordpress.com/2016/10/20/lets-talk-appropriate-vs-inappropriate-touch/ 

Be patient if your child doesn’t open up at one go. Keep reassuring your child that whatever the matter is, you are there with them to protect them.

  • Report It

Specially if the child is your kid or someone closely associated with you can be emotionally draining. But its absolutely necessary to protect someone who is too young to protect themselves.

The first step of reporting is to file an FIR with police and let them begin their investigation. But its always better to get an independent body working in area of child welfare on board to help with the process & counselling. A national helpline number 1098 setup by Childline Foundation (http://www.childlineindia.org.in/) has volunteers in all major cities in India and are associated with over 700 NGOs and with the police department of India too.

  • Follow up

Considering the country we live in, the investigation & conviction might not move very fast. Regularly following up with the agency or police station handling the case might be required. Also make sure to keep supporting the child to make sure the child is out of the trauma soon. If required take the child for a professional counselling.

Even for yourself, if you are a parent or closely related to the child, seek professional help. Reporting a child abuse & following it up is not easy, but don’t give up & remember the intention behind your actions. Keep strong!!

Important Resources

Child Sexual Abuse and Law –  http://www.childlineindia.org.in/Child-Sexual-Abuse-and-Law

Arpan – Mumbai based Child Welfare Agency – http://arpan.org.in/

Bosco – Bangaluru based Child Welfare Agency – http://boscoban.org/

Rahi – Delhi based Child Welfare Agency – http://www.rahifoundation.org/

El – Shaddai Goa based Child Welfare Agency – http://www.childrescue.net/

Tulir – Chennai based Child Welfare Agency – http://tulir.org/

Save the Children – All India Agency – https://www.savethechildren.in/

11 Responses

  1. Fabulous Mom Life

    Very well written. It is important to make the kids talk to you about everything!

  2. This is the most dreaded topic you have written so well will bookmark it

    https://rattlebabblebattle.wordpress.com

  3. It’s scary to think about it. But yes it is better to be prepared in some sense. Great info.

  4. Really appreciate your boldness for writing this post. It’s truly parents responsibility to teach their kids about their safety and monitor them periodically. Thanks for this thought provoking post.

  5. This is a very useful post. Seen a lot of posts about good touch bad touch but very few on how to remedy situations like this. Thanks for sharing your insights

  6. Very well said. In the current time time we all go thru stress immensely and because of that we at times miss to talk to our own kids. . Thanks for sharing

  7. this is a very informative, well written post and needs to be shared across…i am doing my bit

    Allthatsmom

  8. This is really to be watched n talked if u see any changes in kids and more important need to bring in notice n take care of child ..I have written one post on same read it n I was writing as a fiction that time but was in tears when writing this http://wigglingpen.com/unsaid-fear/

  9. This is such an important topic and this is my biggest fear as well! We are also already training Karma to trust her instinct and to show her that we trust hers – small things like not forcing her to go to anyone or let anyone hug her is she doesn’t want. No matter if its family or friend. You post is super handy. Thanks for writing it!

    http://raisingkarma.in/outdoor-birthday-party-or-baby-shower-decoration-ideas/

  10. […] other child you know is going through it? Read this article to help understand those signs – WE ARE WITH YOU, MY CHILD (Click for direct […]

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