In the wake of rising cases of child rapes in India, it’s high time parents teach their children certain things early.
As many as 18,862 cases of child rape were registered in 2016, which means more than 50 children were raped a day, as per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
The government data shows there has been over 82% increase in incidents of child rapes in 2016 compared to 2015.
The latest data are yet to be published, which will surely be more horrifying with cases like the 8-year-old nomadic tribe girl who was allegedly gang-raped for days and murdered in Kathua.
Or the case of the 11-year-old in Rajkot, who was gang-raped and made pregnant. Or the nine-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in Etah, Uttar Pradesh. And so on.
Here are 10 things you and your child must follow:
1. Never allow your child to sit on anyone’s lap, including relatives. The NCRB data shows that in 94.6% of the cases, the victims/survivors knew the accused.
2. Once your child turns 2 years old, avoid getting dressed in front of him/her. Teach them that it’s inappropriate to watch anyone dress/undress. And that, they should also not do it in front of anyone.
3. It’s very common in Indian household when adults often joke with a child and call him/her “my boyfriend/husband” or “my girlfriend/wife”. Never allow anyone refer your child like one to avoid any kind of sexual abuse that the role play might bring in.
4. Keep a tab on your child’s playmates and their kind of games. Thanks to internet and adult toons, you never know when the children end up sexually abusing themselves.
5. Take a cue. When your child refuses to meet/visit any particular relative or shows discomfort in his/her presence, don’t take it lightly and find out the reason.
Same goes when your child grows too fond of a particular relative/friend. Children often can’t differentiate “good touch” and “bad touch” and hence easily fall prey to sexual abuse.
6. Watch your child’s body language. If your otherwise active child, suddenly withdraws himself/herself in a shell, don’t shout at him/her. Instead, be patient and ask questions gently, may be over his/her favourite ice-cream or pizza.
7. Once your child is of age (about to step into their teens), educate him/her about sex and the right values and responsibilities that come with it.
If you shy away, the world outside will teach him/her their way. Humanitarian aid organisation World Vision India over 45,000 children in the age group of 12-18 years, across 26 states in India, is a sexual abuse victim.
8. These days, even cartoons and comics contain sexual contents. So, scan a new show or a new book before letting your child watch or read them. Use child locks on television channels you would not like your child to see.
Studies have found that children tend to imitate/experience anything new they see. So they might not find it unnatural when someone kisses them on the lips because the prince and princess in a cartoon show have done that.
9. When your child is 3 years old, teach him/her about his/her private parts, how to wash them properly and that he/she should never allow anyone, even you, to touch them.
10. If your child complains about a particular person, no matter how closely related he/she is, don’t keep quiet. Take up the case firmly and face the person. Remember, your child’s safety comes first.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.