What started as a tiny spark emerged as a ground-breaking event, a first of its kind by Tamil bloggers:
A highly informative and useful seminar presented by renowned psychiatrists Dr. Rudhran, and Dr. Shalini, and was attended by an enthusiastic gathering of fellow bloggers and their families.
The seminar about "Child abuse and precations to prevent it", more widely known as the "Good touch bad touch" seminar was conducted on the premises of Kizhaku Pathipagam on May 10, 2009.
Dr. Shalini gave an eye-opening talk about the causes and psychology behind child abuse. She emphasized that people with low self-esteem seek such forbidden pleasures and as children are the most vulnerable part of the society, they make easy victims for such barbarians.
Mostly such persons try work in the vicinity of a large group of children and make themselves pleasing and charming to children. This way, they win over the confidence of the children, making them easy preys. Therefore, it is all the more harder to make out a child-abusing beast from a truly fond uncle. So, go by your instincts, or your child's.
Dr. Shalini also mentioned various anecdotes in which infliction of sexual abuse as a child leaves indelible marks on a person years later. An educated woman averse to marriage and sex was found to be abused as a child.An otherwise healthy man believed himself to be gay because of sexual abuse in his teens, by peers.
As for protecting little children from sexual abuse, Dr. Shalini listed out the following precationary measures:
1. Let the child know thoroughly the difference between its private and public parts. The parts which can be publicly touched are public parts. Those which cannot be publicly displayed or touched are private parts. The private parts can be touched only by the child's mother, or in some cases the child's granny. Not
even the dad!(A dad who had great maternal instincts was a little hurt by this,
to which Dr. Shalini said, it should be the mother's discretion to make allowances on this matter, as not all men are beasts, she added!)
2. Just like you teach the body parts and their function, let them learn the names of their genitals and their functions too.
Eyes - to see
Nose - to smell
Penis - to urinate.
Also, tell the child to notify you, should anyone try to touch their private part. Be careful not to overemphasize or overreact on the consequences. (This may become a ruse for naughty children to tell tales about people they dislike, Dr. Rudhran mentioned.)
3. Be discrete before your children, just as you would in front of your neighbors.
4. Handle tacky questions or information by telling them stories. Never overload them with direct information. It won't help and might bakfire with dire results. Stories with the information subtly imbibed in them will do the trick. For example, "...there bad dinosaur touched the good dinosaur's private part. The good dinosaur immediatly went to its mom and complained."
5. Do not plant unwanted non-sense into the child's head. If they ask you how they were born, never tell them stories about the flying stork. Rather, give them details but as appropriate as to the age of the child.
6. Do not encourage babyish talk for speaking about private parts, and normal activities such as passing urine or bowels. Use proper civilized terms for the same.
7. Most importantly spend as much time as possible with your children. There is no substitute to the unconditional love and support you give them. Your children must believe that they can confide anything in you. Practice positive talk. Say,"I will love you even more if you do..." instead of "I won't talk to you if you don't..."
8. It's not only little girls that are abused. Little boys should be adequately educated on this matter too.
9. Emphasizing on the pseudo-gay belief that many men have in our society, Dr. Shalini pointed out that, while we celebrate the puberty of girls with pomp and show, we hardly acknowledge that of boys. As a result, our men are sadly ignorant of their own sexual abilities. This brings a range of complications starting from unwanted curiosity, low self-esteem, and they fall victims to phoney sexual experts.We must make an effort to communicate with our male children on sexual issues and celebrate their puberty as well!
Dr. Rudhran who spoke next, invited questions from the audience, which was answered by both the doctors.
The interactive session further extended to topics such as sexual harrassment of women at workplace, and child prodigies. Few interesting points:
1. Unwarranted comments about a woman's looks and clothes to the extent of embarrassing her is also a form of sexual harrassment.
2. Child prodigies can grow up to be normal adults multi-faceted or not. There is no cause to worry about their extra-ordinary abilities.
3. You cannot create a multi-faceted personality in a child by forcing them to a lot of activities. Find what interests them most and help them towards that.
4. A young boy is least likely to be abused by his adult elder brother. No cause to worry. Nevertheless, the education of your child regarding private parts should help him against anybody, including his brother.
5. If you find a child initiating sexual abuse, it's an alarm for deep trouble. Either the child has been priorly subjected to abuse to the extent that it has started enjoying it, or it is mentally challenged. Such cases warrant immediate investigation and psychiatrical assistance.
Special thanks to Dr. Rudhran and Dr. Shalini who spared time in their busy schedule and shared their valuable knowledge on the subject.
Great many thanks to:
Mr. SK who took the initiative and contacted the experts and got their consent, Mr.Narsim, Mr.Luckylook and Mr.Adisha who worked tirelessly rounding up participants and publicizing the event, Kizhakku Pathipagam and Mr.Badri, who played the perfect hosts offering their own premises, refreshments, and mementoes for the guest speakers. Ramya presented the guest speakers with shawls.
Let's hope this is not the end but only the beginning of many more purposeful events in the future.