Millions of girls in India face obstacles in their lives, experiencing various forms of discrimination, exploitation and abuse on account of their age and their sex. Each year, an increasing number of children in India face sexual violence.
Recently, there have been cases of rape that have galvanized global attention and sparked mass demonstrations and widespread debate on the issue of sexual violence directed at children.
The #ENDviolence campaign Initiative seeks to bring together new ideas, new thinking, and new examples of where people can focus their efforts and energies to raise awareness about sexual abuse in India and bring about an end to it.
This is not a one-off effort, but a collective effort and a sustained initiative that will shine an ever brighter light on an issue that has remained invisible for far too long.
Around the world, UNICEF works with grassroots organizations and governments to find solutions to #ENDviolence against children. Throughout August-September 2013, as a part of the offline component of the #ENDViolence Campaign, UNICEF India tied up with PROTSAHAN to reach out to children across a few major cities in the country through the way of creative workshops involving Protsahan’s 5 pillar of creativity approach, using Design and Art, Cinema, Music & Theatre, Photography and Digital Stories to sound the red siren against violence against girls and women in India: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/india_70237.html
Snapshots from the grassroot workshops offline.
Workshop by Googlers at Protsahan, New Delhi (August 9th, 16th and 23rd 2013):
Google a strong partner on this campaign, actively engaged their employees from different locations across the world to come to Protsahan, to give their working hours during the Google Serve Week, to talk to children about Child Sexual Violence through the use of technology and digital stories. Emma, Richard and Kanika from Google, lead by Shefali Arora and Amrita, engaged on 9th, 16th and 23rd August, explaining the young ones about fighting child sex abuse.
Workshop with Nine is Mine and several other participating NGOs, New Delhi (Sep 14, 2013):
Partner Organizations (in Delhi):
Nine is Mine
Big Klick Media School
Prerna Foundation (Rangayan Theatre Group of Protsahan)
Workshops on Child Sexual Violence that involve creativity and cinema lead to a much impressionable impact on young minds on issues of good and bad touch and vulnerabilities and their rights. The workshop on Sep 14, 2013 began with music ice breaker session. Music in background was done by an exciting Hindi youth band : Turkush from young engineering students in Delhi-NCR, who engaged with students with a beautiful Hindi song : O’ Ri Chiriya (which literally translates into father’s love for his daughter’s safety, all her life!) and several others from Taare Zameen Par focusing on a child’s right to freedom and creative thinking!
Natak Mandli: (Hinglish Street Theatre Performance) was done by Protsahan’s Theatre team from Rangayan (a tie up with Prerna Foundation) – a bright group of vibrant youngsters from colleges of Delhi University, who came forward to do a 20 minute heart wrenching street play equipped with music of dhol (Indian Drums) and speak to children about the grave facts involved under the theme of Child Sexual Violence. Facts stressed in the theatre play included the following: (1) Laws protecting children who are victims of sexual violence : India has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) which calls on States to ensure protection from violence, abuse and exploitation.
The children shared their own stories of resilience and fortitude which took the inspiration quotient of the campaign to a whole new level to other children from different organizations who attended the workshop.
Key Indian laws that were stressed were:
– Indian Penal Code – punishing rape (Article 376)
– The Juvenile Justice Act (JJ Act) 2000, amended in 2006 – includes redress mechanisms and protection measures for victims. Defines roles and functions of protection agencies.
– The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POSCO), 2012 – comprehensive law expanding the scope and range of forms of sexual abuse. It also defines guidelines for child friendly police and courts.
The theatre group also focused on what could teachers and schools do to help children in all entirety. They stressed that teachers should be alert to detect symptoms of abuse, which could be lack of concentration, depression, aggressiveness, sexual behaviour, touching of private parts. They should attempt to talk to the child to find out more and if confident, they are facing a case of abuse, report it accordingly. They should establish an open dialogue with their students. The school should be open to having sex education classes, by bringing in experts in the fields, and not making it a taboo topic, but something that needs more open discussion. Redressal Helplines and Support: Specific emphasis on symptoms, how to seek help, helpline toll free numbers etc. in case of emergencies & help were also shared.
The day ended with the banner paintings (involving students from different non-profits: Salaam Balaak Trust, Chintan NGO, YP Foundation, World Vision India). The children after receiving ice breaking sessions through theatre and music activity, were now equipped to put their thoughts down in color on #ENDViolence written in different ways. Best banner received special tokens of love from Unicef & Protsahan. There was constant live tweeting of photos on #ENDViolence from the venue by young volunteers involved and submitted it online here: #ENDViolence Stamp it Out
As Anil from Salam Balak pointed out, Itne saare bacchon ne apni kahaaniyan share ki, aaj humne jaana aur samjha ki hume khud good touch aur bad touch ki samajh hona kitna zaroori hai! (So many children shared their personal stories; we also learnt how important it is to understand what good touch and bad touch is about.)
Workshops at Gosavi Slums, Karve Nagar, Pune by Protsahan (Sep 15th and 22nd)
Partner Organizations (Pune, Maharashtra)
The Kahani Project
Mrs. Anuradha Karkare (Kripa Foundation)
At the first workshop conducted on 15th September, Pune a corporate CSR : Paintwell lent support to the campaign by engaging their young employees and giving paints for the community banner painting. The workshop was honored by Mrs. Anuradha Karkare’s presence, Counselor and Social Activist at Kripa Foundation, Pune who spoke about Child Sexual Violence to the community through children’s stories in Marathi (vernacular language in Maharashtra). It was a brilliant learning process where the children came ahead to ask questions and opened up with young volunteers from Team Protsahan on Child Abuse. Most notable volunteers were Veena and Shruti Nambiar who engaged children in a very creative and interactive dialog on Child Abuse, yet not making them feel it could be a taboo subject.
A lot of young community teachers also joined in from the Gosavi Slums to lend their voice against the menace of Child Sexual Abuse and what could they as teachers help in explaining their students by keeping an open discussion with them on the issue.
A huge banner painting activity was carried out by over 60 children and 16 volunteers which depicted a child’s journey from abuse and vulnerability to freedom and empowerment. It was felicitated by Vartika Gupta, a young Psychologist and Art based therapy practitioner at Protsahan.
At the second workshop conducted in Pune on 22nd September, very inspiring youngsters from The Kahani Project, a not for profit organization that has one simple aim – to make stories more accessible to children across the world irrespective of their disabilities or socio-economic status. Ajay from The Kahani Project, facilitated games to bring in the element of trust, fearlessness and responsibility and shared the story of Ferdinand to the children where they learned that stronger ones should not misuse their power on the weaker ones.
In these workshops over 270 children were reached out at the grassroot.
Other related blogs on #ENDViolence written as a part of the campaign by celebrated women bloggers across the world!
- Women’s Web : ‘Why Children Remain Silent About Sexual Abuse’.
- Madhusha Dash : ‘Being abused in a land of Values and culture..India and Sexual Violence’.
- Ritu Lalit : ‘The Law is an ass’ (Charles Dickens).
- Aparna Ray (Global Voices) : UNICEF India Sounds the ‘Red Siren’ to #ENDviolence Against Children.
- Nicole Melancon: UNICEF India’s #ENDViolence Campaign.
- Punam JR: As a woman, want to breathe easy.
- Akanksha Dureja: Nothing Historical About it.
- Sweta Vikram’s Blog on Halabol. Halabol.com has put up the campaign banner on their official website too!
- Roshni : Sexual abuse and the girl child: an Indian context
- Conrinne: Hers Is The Face I Can’t Forget
- Shruti Kapoor: Why Sayfty?
- Women’s Web: Barfi or Pedha
- Global Voices: PHOTOS: In Search of a Safe Environment for India’s Children
- Rekha Vikesh – Be a friend, not a parent!