Theme of the Project
Childhood means simplicity. Look at the world through the child’’s eye. It is very beautiful” - Kailash Satyarthi - Indian Nobel Laureate and Child Rights Activist.
Coming from a country with a population of over 1.2 billion.
More than 30% of this population is under the age of 18.
While this is a demographic dividend for the country’s economic growth it is also a ticking time bomb, primarily because it also means that the most number of children vulnerable to exploitation and abuse also reside in India.
From the various studies done, Guwahati in Assam which is the North-Eastern part of India featured as one of the areas to have the highest cases of CHILD ABUSE. Being a girl from Guwahati I realised I needed to make a difference in my home state and help the children who are victims of different kinds of abuse.
Myths of Child Abuse
• Sexual Abuse of Children is a rare thing
• Child Sexual Abuse occurs only in western countries
• In India, Child sexual abuse happens only in slums
• Only girls are affected by sexual abuse
• Child sexual abuse happens with children belonging to troubled or broken families
• Child abusers are social misfits and hence are easily recognisable
• People who abuse children sexually are generally strangers to the child
• To create awareness that ensures protection and fosters development of children.
Association with UTSAH
• During the course of my research, I came across UTSAH ,an NGO run by young social activists of Guwahati who have been fighting and trying to get justice for all sexually abused girls and boys.
• Founded in March 2011 by Miguel Queah, UTSAH(Universal Team for Social Action and Help) works on Child Rights and Protection in the state of Assam,India.
• The most vulnerable group are children between the age group of 0-18 years who have limited or no access to human development services, are victims of one or other form of abuse, are into some kind of labour and many adolescent children come in the conflict of law.
• Being a part of UTSAH became a stepping stone for me to work hand in hand with the organisation and become a voice to all the sexually abused victims.
• As I associated with UTSAH, I came across this brave girl named Aarti whose case was one of the first cases to get conviction. Not only brave, she is talented and has excelled in academics too. The way she fought for what she deserves is commendable and she has been my hero throughout the journey. But not all cases are reported and some which are, do not get success very easily. When I started working with UTSAH, they were already working on several such cases and that’s when I met Munni who is still fighting for justice. I interacted with her and her mother and found out that the criminal is still moving around freely around her area. Her case was scheduled on the 26th of October after several few sessions which was again a failure. Delay is something this poor victim has been facing since the last two years. But I have promised her that I will be a part of her journey and give her all the support that I can and hold her hands on the way to justice.
Facts and Figures
UNICEF DATA FOR INDIA
121 mn children below the age of 5
12% of children aged between 5-14 are engaged in Child labour
NATIONAL CRIME RECORDS BUREAU - 2015
• Total Crimes Against Children Reported - 94,172 (2835in Assam)
• Total cases under POCS0 - 8,800 (542 in Assam)
• Total cases related to child trafficking - 3,490 (1317 in Assam)
UNION MINISTRY OF WOMEN & CHILD DEVELOPMENT
53% of all interviewed children reported having faced some form of sexual abuse. Boys as vulnerable as girls.
CHILDLINE 1098 One child below age of 16 is raped every 155th minute in India
Rising Crime Rate
How to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
• Its precisely to combat this exploitation that in 2012 the Government of India enacted the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO)
• This Act corresponds to Article 19 and 34 of the UNCRC, that provides for the right of the child to be protected from all kinds of sexual exploitation and abuse
What did we Achieve?
• As part of the project I have undertaken a number of counselling sessions with the children and parents emphasising the dangers that lurk around the corners.
• Explaining to these children about good touch and bad touch. This has been done through a variety of entertaining ways including general sessions, one on one sessions,using audio video aides and also through general re-enactment.
• Through these numerous sessions I have over the last few months reached out to over two hundred children and parents in some of the most marginalised communities in Guwahati.
Results of the Campaign
• Met the DGP of Police who sensitised about the judicial proceedings
• Conducted in numerous sessions on Good Touch Bad Touch with the families and children separately
• Initiated a child helpline
• To continue working with UTSAH and provide the necessary support to all the sexually abused children
• To become the voice to make sure that the victims get right justice at the right time
• To bring about a smile on the future of this country