The state of Telangana has one of the highest recorded instances of Child Sexual Abuse in India. The children both in urban and rural spaces are never spoken to about the sexual abuse and the topic is treated as a taboo both in schools and at home. However it is important to make the children, parents and teacher aware about what constitutes as child sexual abuse, symptoms of abuse, methods to react and report the instances of child sexual abuse. With this backdrop SANKALP a nonprofit organization has initiated project PANTS and is creating awareness among children, teachers and parents on Recognizing, Reacting and Responding to child sexual abuse.
Sankalp has conducted PANTS session in St Ann’s High School, Madinagudaduring 8th and 9th February 2017. 180 children from class 6 has participated in the program. Ms. Rajeswari and Ms. Rashmi from Sankalp has facilitated the sessions.
The facilitators began the two day event by talking to the students on aspiration building in order to get familiarized with children. Also the session had a key point on importance of information and communication which acted as a link to the next session.
The session on child sexual abuse concentrated on making students understand about safe and unsafe touch and reacting to such incidences. Also information was given on ways to react and means of help available. The sessions were designed by Raja Rajeswari and Balendu Rashmi with the help of the already existing material available on CSA and by adapting it to the needs of the school. The facilitators using interactive- play way methodology for these sessions.
Children were made to play a “ Simon Says” – a game that is meant to create energy among the students by asking them to enact as they are told, like ‘ jump, laugh loudly, clap, turn around etc.’ After a round of introduction the facilitator set up some rules for the two sessions to go smoothly and make the experience enriching.Once the kids agreed, the facilitator asked the students if they liked stories. She narrates the story of Govind a boy with high aspirations and his journey in fulfilling his dreams. The students were now asked if they had ambition/goal/ aspiration like Govind. Many children nodded “yes”. They were given white papers and asked to write down their aspiration on the paper given to them. The facilitator discussed learnings from the story and did a mind jog with the students about their impression of the story. The message from the story was that to make dreams a reality one should not wait for magic or miracles to happen but should work hard to achieve them.
The students were now asked to write down the three challenges that they think can act as a problem or a challenge to fulfil their dreams. The facilitator then discussed the challenges of each students and discussed the means of overcoming challenges. It was highlighted this time about the importance of right information and communication as important means to achieve what they wanted to become.
The students were made to play a small game called the Chinese whisper which highlighted the importance of speaking and listening with attention. It was told through this game that when one doesn’t listen or pass on the information correctly the information become misinformation. The facilitator elaborated more on the importance of good communication with various relatable examples. She chose two groups of four and asked one of the group to perform briefly on good communication and the other on bad communication. The facilitator then drew all the points and concluded on a note that communication and communicating information is very essential not only for good career choices but also for maintaining cordial relationships and also coping up with bad circumstances.
On day 2 the facilitators started the session with energizers. The children were happy that we returned and waited anxiously for the day’s session. The children were reminded of the ground rules and the session began. The children were asked questions about their favorite things, people etc. then they were asked what and who makes them happy, sad, angry and scared. These two exercises went in an interactive mode. The idea behind this was to make children speak about themselves and feelings. This is important in the session as child sexual abuse opens up a Pandora’s box of emotions and feelings. Followed by this the children were asked to name the parts of the body from the pictures a drawn on two charts of both a boy and girl. This exercise was meant to initiate a discussion the private and non-private parts of the body. The facilitator then share the stories of a girl and guy who had instances of child sexual abuse in different circumstances. The children were asked if what happened in the story was right or not. Practices of safe and unsafe touch was explained in detail to the children.
The children then, are told about the importance of communicating when one is faced with unsafe touch by known or unknown people. They were asked to identify trusted people in their life who they can entrust their experiences with. They were also told about support systems available for children like child line, police and NGOs who could be reached out to in times of need. This was demonstrated by an activity to with balloons which displayed vulnerability and support. The facilitators they pooled students of two sections into one and showed them a 10 minute animated short film “KOMAL” on child sexual abuse by CHILD LINE. The session was concluded by introducing the PANTS principle.