Sexual harassment is an important yet dark issue in our society.
In moments of contemplation, we often ask ourselves this question: How frequently do we allow our children to go out of their house alone? Whether it’s going to a friend’s place or a party & …and do girls enjoy the same freedom as boys in your house?
Many parents who treat their children equally. Moving on, studies do reflect that females are more exposed to sexual harassment. According to a research of Child Protective Services in USA, 1 in 9 females are susceptible to sexual abuse. These children who are susceptible to child abuse are normally between the age 6-15 years old. These children, as they grow into adults, are more liable to get into drugs, post traumatic stress disorders & depression.
Another unexpected statistic uncovered is that 88% of sexual harassers are men & the rest are female.
Here’s one eye opening fact which we found out about Child abuse!
However, despite the high incidence of female child abuse in Pakistan where 8 children a day are reported to be sexually abused, boys are at a higher incidents of being abused than girls.
Furthermore, 60% of the sexual abusers are known to the children.
Parents find it really difficult to discuss sexual abuse with children & it’s hard for them to explain to their kids about how should a children protect themselves.
The Human Rights organization in USA states that it’s really hard to monitor sexual abuse. Some scientific research states that refusal to meet others is a telling sign. However, sexual abuse is a worldwide issue rather than only one restricted to Pakistan or India. It’s everywhere. We discuss it on open forums everyday, yet are unable to pattern a workable solution for it.
Why do kids not talk about being sexually abused?
Children are scared to talk about it or express their experiences because they are afraid of being scolded. Psychologists have revealed that when a child confesses about being sexually harassed, they are scolded and often physically threatened by the parent, who responds with a ‘jhoot mat bola karo‘. Perhaps parents and carers are unequipped to deal or respond to such an accusation, or they might even be in denial – their first response to a situation in which they more or less, find themselves to be helpless.
Child behaviour experts mention that normally, children are reluctant to talk about it, usually boys, because boys are brought up to feel that they can handle everything.
How to fight sexual harrassment?
- Ashad Qureshi has written a book called ‘Mera Jism Mera Hai‘ in urdu, available online. The book contains child-friendly illustrations to reach a wider audience. Give it a read!
2. Teach your children defensive strategies.
3. Talk & communicate with your children.
4. Do not send your children out alone or leave them alone with any family member if you feel they cannot be trusted.
5. Talk to your child’s school to introduce sexual harassment as part of the child’s curriculum. If you feel you are not equipped to manage it on your own (none of us are), raise awareness, reach out to experts, so this issue can be dealt with in a professional way.
Many children are unsure of what they actually experienced. They are told to remain quiet. ‘Ab kya faida ispe baat karne ka?’
The future holds great challenges for victims, and they must seek therapy and emotional support to overcome the experience.
Often, victims of sexual harassment can’t live a normal life, they are afraid to go out in public, scared to build relationships and blame themselves for what has happened.
What can we do about sexual harassment?
Parents should start treating their children equally. In Pakistan, boys receive more exposure than girls, since they are allowed or told to walk to school alone, run errands for the household or work in the fields alone, with little or zero supervision. This is one reason for the increase in cases in young boys.
We must understand that till a certain age, boys require the same protection as girls.
Please communicate with your children and believe them once they confess what’s wrong. Every child is equally important & it’s high time to start educating young girls and boys about all kinds of abuse and how to prevent it. Teach your boys to treat girls as human beings to be respected rather than an object to satisfy needs.
The change begins from home.