Safe space for conversations by Yamini Khanna

Putting your guard down and opening up about a past experience of child sexual abuse is often the most courageous act in the process of dealing with the incident and seeking justice. Survivors of such a heinous act are children who are usually dependant members of the social structure which makes dealing with such an experience extremely difficult often deprived of professional help and proper remedial measures.

There are briefly three reasons why victims of child sexual abuse face difficulty in seeking the help that’s necessary for them to overcome the trauma left by such an incident. Firstly, the victims are often of a tender age usually in their initial teenage years and aren’t well aware of what exactly constitutes as an act of sexual abuse, they are often unaware of the difference between good touch and bad touch and usually don’t recognise the act against them as an act of sexual abuse until they reach a certain age and gain clarity about these things. This unawareness makes it difficult for them to seek help at the right time and talk about it with people they see as their gaurdians. The primer solution is to create an environment of safe space where concepts of bodily autonomy and sexual abuse are introduced to the children at a very young age and an holistic approach is adopted by the family members to gain the confidence of the family members that will help them to seek out support and count on them for help.
Secondly, the abuser can be a member of the family and in such a situation seeking family help and resorting to redressal mechanism can prove to be an obstacle and in such a case schooling authorities should be made well equipped to provide support both emotional and legal by closely working with the administrative authorities.
Thirdly, children of older age belonging to later teenage years often hesitate in talking about child abuse with their family as they see this act as one causing them to be subjects of extra protective measures and a threat to their freedom and life choices. To deal with such cases in an extremely efficient manner the student community should be made aware of their responsibilities towards their peers as often they are the ones who can act as a foundation for support and help. Moreover, proper psychological and mental help should be provided by educational institutions with confidentiality provision in place.
Child sexual abuse can leave an adverse impact on the mind of the survivor and it is of utmost importance to create safe environment and engaging in conversations to deal with the consequences of such an act in a well sensitive and confidential manner.

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