Child sexual abuse, a cause that is very dear to my heart, it still shudders me every time i hear a story of abuse in my sessions. Yes, i am covering it in my #SpeakUp series because it has profound psychological effects on a child’s mental state.
Child sexual abuse includes touch and non touch abuse. Some examples of touching activity include:
- touching a child’s genitals or private parts for sexual pleasure
- making a child touch someone else’s genitals, play sexual games or have sex putting objects or body parts (like fingers, tongue or penis) inside the vagina, in the mouth or in the anus of a child for sexual pleasure
Some examples of non-touching activity include:
- showing pornography to a child
- deliberately exposing an adult’s genitals to a child
- photographing a child in sexual poses
- encouraging a child to watch or hear sexual acts
- inappropriately watching a child undress or use the bathroom
- Becoming withdrawn or very clingy
- Becoming unusually secretive
- Sudden unexplained personality changes, mood swings and seeming insecure
- Regressing to younger behaviours, e.g. bedwetting
- Unaccountable fear of particular places or people
- Outburst of anger
- Changes in eating habits
- New adult words for body parts and no obvious source
- Talk of a new, older friend and unexplained money or gifts
- Self-harm (cutting, burning or other harmful activities)
- Not wanting to be alone with a particular child or young person
Child Sexual Abuse in Cinema
Chilling and gruelling movie Spotlight undoubtedly tops my list of movies depicting child sexual abuse. In 2002, the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team, a group of five investigative journalists, uncovered the biggest systemic cover-up of child abuse by the Catholic Church in Boston : that priests accused of misconduct were being systematically removed and allowed to work in other parishes.
The team’s investigation brought the issue to national prominence in the US, winning them the Pulitzer prize for public service. The journalists’ story, and those who suffered at the hands of the clergy, are the subject of movie, a Hollywood movie starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams. Meet the amazing real and reel Spotlight team.
Mira Nair’s musical drama “Monsoon Wedding” for the first time in Bollywood took up the issue of child sexual abuse in the most bold way as possible where the movie in a run up to big fat Indian wedding comes to a point that an abuser which is a trusted family member is exposed after abusing many children. It is closer to reality in a typical joint family set up where such a revelation is first met with disbelief and then passed off under covers as “little thing”. Stand up for victims, says this movie and we say the same.
Madhur Bhandarkar’s Page 3 deals with child abuse and trafficking under the garb of child care homes but dilutes it in the process to make a cocktail of everything that happens in Page 3.
We come to Imtiaz’s yet another masterpiece about stockholm syndrome Highway where the kidnapper (Randeep Hooda) and the hostage (Alia bhatt) connect over past abuse at the hands of people they trusted and there Imtiaz makes a very important statement- Child sexual abuse occurs irrespective of class and gender. The powerful scene where Alia confronts his abuser on face shows what years of trauma and abuse may lead up to, it may lead up to the confident of confident young girls and boys vulnerable and one single support gives them courage to say a No.
Read the ever inspiring Oprah Winfrey who suffered years of abuse as a child.
“Anybody who has been verbally abused or physically abused will spend a great deal of their life rebuilding their esteem,”. Everybody has a story and your story is as equally as valuable and important as my story. My story just helped define and shape me as does everybody’s story.”
After the sessions by Bachpan Project in Bihar, 4 girls out of 9 schools have reported against Child sexual abuse by people in authority of trust. Write to us, speak to us and let’s give the Bachpan Back to our children.