Chuppi Todo: Don’t keep Mum, speak to your Mom

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Every second child is sexually abused in India. According to the national study on child abuse in 2007, 53.22% of the children surveyed across India reported one or more forms of sexual abuse. Data collected under a study by Govt. of India shows that one out of 3 girls had been sexually abused in childhood. Boys are equally vulnerable as the data reflected that one out of 10 boys covered under the survey reported abuse. And most of these children are not able to report this to anyone. Chuppi Todo, a campaign against child sexual abuse, calls upon kids to break their silence

Campaign was initiated by child rights activist Sanjay Singh as an effort to make small awareness films to educate children and their parents on this issue. There are two films and two television spots for the Chuppi Todo campaign. The first film, an educational and child-friendly film, teaches children to distinguish between safe and unsafe touch through messages delivered by a psychologist. These messages are reinforced through mime performances. The second film recapitulates the incidences of child sexual abuse that have captured the public imagination. It has interviews with victims of sexual abuse who share the effect of their horrific experiences. Two TV spots of 30 seconds duration encourages children to talk about it with the message “Don’t keep mum, speak to your mom”. It was the first time TV spots were made on this subject.

“The concept is simple. We educate children about the three ‘R’s in relation to Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) – Recognize, Resist, and Report abuse. Children are told the difference between safe and unsafe touch. They are urged to report any such incidence to their parents or support group. In addition, the childline helpline number is given in the film to report abuse to and seek further help”, says Sanjay Singh.

In year 2010, Sanjay Singh with his team went on a road yatra from Mumbai to Delhi, screening these films and educating children about CSA in various schools. Before and after screening the film a questionnaire was filled by children to measure their knowledge levels regarding CSA and the results were statistically analysed. Results showed a recognizable increase in the awareness of children regarding unsafe touch and how to handle situations arising from them.

Sanjay Singh says, “We have to tell our children that they should not be silent in case they encounter such a thing. They should tell their elders about it immediately. That is the concept behind the campaign Chuppi Todo (Don’t keep mum, speak to your mom). The only way to fight this menace is to teach our children the fundamentals of touch which will prepare them to handle the worst case scenario.”

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