Safe and Happy Childhood
TOUCHES give feelings. We have different kinds of feelings such as happy, sad, angry, surprised, shocked, afraid and more. One feeling we all enjoy, is HAPPY … isn’t it? Just like adults, children too experience these various feelings. For example, they may feel happy when they get to eat their favorite ice-cream, get a hug from parents, but feel sad when their friends do not include them in play or when hit by a stronger person. They may feel angry if someone scolded them for another’s mistake or when pushed away by a friend and so on. Sometimes they also experience confusion or feel bad when touched in a manner they do not like. Some touches make them feel uncomfortable. Most children may just become quiet and not share with anyone. In the perspective of future of such children, there may be a stunted emotional and/or physical growth.
Do children know what to do when faced with a confronting situation or on experiencing a bad touch? This question can be addressed with giving them an understanding on good and bad touches, safe adult and “my safe zone” and finally tips on what to do when faced with a situation which they do not like.
1) What are Good and Bad Touch
Any touch that gives a comfortable and happy feeling is a good touch. Any touch which is not liked or makes one sad, feel bad, guilty, scared or confused is a bad touch.When someone touches on the regions marked red, it is a bad touch unless it is to keep them clean or healthy. For eg :- Mother touching your private parts (chest, buttocks and part between your legs), while bathing them is not a bad touch. A doctor touching when checking them in presence of parents is not a Bad Touch. If someone touches in regions marked yellow and you do not like it, then it is a Bad Touch.If someone touches in regions marked green, it is a safe and Good Touch.
Good Touch: Mom’s hug, Shake of hands, a friendly pat.
Bad Touch: Being asked to show or touching one’s private parts. Being asked to touch or see another’s private parts, Forcible kissing.
2) Who is a Safe Adult and what is My Safe Zone
A safe adult is a person a child will tell, when they experience any bad touch or feelings of confusion. The safe adult is a person who loves them, cares for them and someone they can trust. This person will listen to them and take appropriate measures to help them out.
My safe zone is the set of safe adults that will be identified by the child and parents together to help them speak to someone in time of need. Let all the identified safe adults know about them having been chosen as one.
3) Tips on What to do
When someone touches a child and they do not like it, or they touch/ see the child’s private body parts or ask the child to touch/see their private body parts or do some action that confuses a child, ask the CHILD to :-
b) Say NO and run away.
c) Rush to a safe adult and report. Keep reporting till they are heard.
d) Remember it is not their fault. Never to keep Secrets…
e) Always remember that their body belongs to them.
f) TELL a safe adult right away even if they have not expressed about an earlier incident. Remember it is Never Too Late.
As a safe adult, parents/caregivers/people in charge must remember :-
1) The child is not at fault.
2) Not to blame the child or panic or overreact.
3) A child’s complaints must not be ignored.
4) Professional help should be sought when necessary.
Let all children have a safe and happy childhood and a confident and secure future.
For any doubts, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Team Abhaya is a group of volunteers who are committed towards spreading awareness on how to safeguard oneself from Child Sexual Abuse. We are available to conduct awareness sessions to groups of children and parents.)