- Why is safety awareness against sexual abuse among children important?
Sadly, kids are the easiest and the softest targets. That they are innocent and naïve hardly matters. It’s the only reason why kids should know the boundaries that cannot be crossed. They also need to know how to not let anyone cross that boundary.
- Does our “Fearless project” resonate with you on some level? If yes, how?
Yes it most certainly does! In fact, I love that the Fearless Project is also about prevention as much as it’s about recovery. Our country needs to learn how to keep our children safe. We need to learn to create an impenetrable fence all around them. We need to raise our kids with love and not with fear, impalement or shame.
- How did you overcome the trauma of abuse? What aspects were most difficult to heal? What aspects made the healing process difficult?
It was a process.
I think overnight healing is only temporary healing and so, I’m rather glad my healing took time.One by one, the layers of hurt got peeled off and eventually, withered. I don’t think there’s a set formula to overcome the trauma of being victimized but over time I’ve gotten to understand that we all go through the same stages – feeling of uncleanness, self blame, living in denial and finally, confrontation. Let me break it down a bit more.
- Feeling of uncleanness – as kids, we understand that we’ve been violated even though we may not know the words to use to articulate our feelings. With this understanding comes the feeling on uncleanness.
- Self blame – thoughts like – “I invited trouble” or “it’s because I’m not pretty enough” or “it’s because I’m ugly” constantly resonate in the head. Add to it, our society conditions us to think that it’s always the girls’ fault.
- Denial – this is when we start thinking that ‘the act’ never happened and then we graduate to think that it happened but it wasn’t as big a deal as we’re making out to be.
Mind you, all this is still about ‘ME’. In the sense that up until now I haven’t even started thinking about how the perpetrator has been in the wrong! That’s the worst part about the ordeal. The perpetrator goes on to live his life normally and the victim gets stuck in time.
When I did start thinking about the person responsible for this, the part that hurt the most was the broken trust. To be able to trust another man was a task! It felt like no one deserves to be trusted, like no one’s trust worthy.
It took a lot of time, a lot of friends and a lot of love to overcome these doubts and questions.
- What is your advice to children who have faced abuse?
Don’t hide it from anyone. Don’t hide it from yourself either. Talk about it, shed tears, vent….basically, address it and give yourself the dignity of words.You don’t necessarily need to address it in a recurrent manner but address it in a way that helps you get over it without having to rue about it over and over again.Learn to let go. Learn to forgive. It’s a process that will be worth your while.
- How important is it for Student campuses to ensure both awareness, precautions and a safety mandate against child sexual abuse?
Apart from teaching our kids to excel in life we need to teach them to be safe as well!
Campuses are where our personalities form and develop and so, it should be an environment for growth! It shouldn’t be stifling or terrifying instead it should be encouraging and gratifying. If sexual predators wander around in our campuses, it’s the slow death of life!
- What word of advice would you have for parents and teachers in bringing awareness on child sexual abuse?
Relentlessly and consistently pursue the cause please. I know the results are far too few but you are impacting generations to come. Your work is not a drop in an ocean. It’s like yeast making its way through the toughest situations.Don’t for a moment be under the assumption that sexual abuse cannot take place in our home. It has and it will continue to, unless we remain vigilant.
- Teachers and Parents sometimes say that it may be harmful or unnecessary to give too much information about sex too early in life. What is your comment?
How much is too much? And honestly, we live in a day and age where the world is at our finger tips – quite literally! If we are not the source of information to our kids, someone else will be. Perhaps even someone who’s less trustworthy. Is that a gamble worth playing?
- What advice do you have for parents and teachers who are helping children overcome the trauma of abuse?
It’s not the end of the world and your kids need to know that. At the same time, they need to know that you understand what they’ve been through and it doesn’t change your relationship with them.They need to be surrounded by better men/women who are proof that there are good human beings in their world too.They need to be encouraged with words of appreciation and validation.They need to be taught to forgive. But they also need to see you confront the perpetrators.
- What is your message to the world on Child Sexual Abuse?
It exists and maybe right in our own backyards. Let’s not run away from the fact. But let’s face it with hope and love.