- In India, every second child is sexually abused (2007 Study, Ministry of Women and Child Development).
- Priyank Kanoongo, Honourable Chairman of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) inaugurated the short films.
New Delhi, November 20, 2020 :
On World Child Rights Day 2020, a step has been taken towards the right direction by Ms Megha Bhatia, Founder of Our Voix in collaboration with Banswara Syntex Ltd. Our Voix is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated towards the cause of child sexual abuse prevention through workshops, resource development and advocacy.
‘Humare Super Buddies Humare Rakshak’ is a series of short animated movies with the overarching aim of education and empowering children about identification of different forms of sexual abuse and accessing help. Our Voix launched 4 such short-films with two focussing on child-sensitive stories and others targeting other stakeholders such as teachers, parents, etc. The videos address umbrella themes such as online grooming, digital abuse, physical abuse, legal rights prescribed to children and accessing help.
Mr. Priyank Kanoongo, Honourable Chairman of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) inaugurated the short films and sensitised the audience about the long lasting emotional impact on survivors of this crime. He congratulated the two collaborating organisations for taking forward this mission to sensitise both present and future generations. “The best part of the short animated movie is that it will be available in sign language too.”, he added.
People from over 8 states of India, including but not limited to Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Maharasthra and Odisha. The launch event saw international participation with the attendance of people from Spain and United Kingdom. Throughout the event, stakeholders – students, teachers, parents, youth leaders – expressed their positive reviews for the stereotype-smashing and the importance of such resources. Reviews included “These films should reach every child in India” and “Never stay quiet thinking about societal reputation, break the silence!”, and many more.
The first animated movie take up two ‘Super Buddies’ that have been carefully penned down in roles where they share knowledge, facts about the “powers” and “rights” of children. It includes powers and rights such as, the power to say no, the power over one’s own body and the right to trust and raise our voice. It challenges notions and stereotypes while explaining how sexual abuse can take place even without physical touch. The children would also be taught different reporting mechanisms such as the child helpline number (1098) and online reporting options.
The second and third movie cover the role of other stakeholders, such as parents, guardians and teachers which widens the scope of inclusion in these films. The videos not only focus on making homes a safe space for children, but also emphasizes the role of schools which must be equipped with a Child Abuse Monitoring Committee (CAMC) under the POCSO Act. It also demystifies a number of false beliefs and hesitations prevalent amongst people in addition to self-defense, legal and psychological factors that the surrounding adults need to be sensitised with. It also explains the early warning signs which can help teachers and parents identify sexual abuse, such as aggression, inability to keep up with school among others.
Finally, in the fourth movie, the children are taught self-defence techniques to empower themselves and equips them with the ability to respond appropriately to dangerous situations. In its mission towards inclusivity, these movies are differentiated in the field of child protection resources since they are available in sign language in response to the additional vulnerability faced by differently-abled children.
These short films are made by taking 100 + recommendations received from 120+stakeholders in India from 11+states and individuals from United Kingdom to ensure culturally diverse perspective. People from different fields such as doctors, lawyers, consultants, students joined the screening of the animated short movie and appreciated this initiative towards making childhoods safe.
The event included the perspective of a 15-year-old child, Ms. Mannat Sawhney, a student from Sanskriti School. She said, “Proper sex education should be included in the school curriculums. Make Bachpan Safe for all.” She explained that our voices are coming together for protection of children in a child friendly way through animations. She also added, “this resource will help the children to identify the abuser before it goes far.” She called everyone to action to spread these movies to climb the slopes to make bachpan safe.
Ms. Megha Bhatia expressed her gratitude to Banswara Syntex Ltd. for believing the vision of safe childhoods for India. She expressed, “Children should not be just seen but heard too.”, and inspired everyone by her launching quote, “Today, we launch not just movies, but a revolution that children should be made aware of their rights over their body. Let’s raise our voice for the present and future generations”
Ms. Kavita, Senior VP, CSR, Banswara Syntex Ltd. also shared her views – “People from big corporations should come forward and contribute to this cause to create a greater impact. She also expressed that this is leads us to a pathway towards raising our voices for children and hearing them out.
It was an eye-opening event for students, children, teachers to prevent the abuse. The event was a catalyst for change in the mindset and breaking the barriers of the social stigma. It covered information for all aspects of child sexual abuse about how teachers, parents, students, and everyone can come and stand against this evil in unity.