It was in June this year that child psychiatrist Dr Bhushan Shukla, with the help of some friends and students from Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication (SIMC), shot and uploaded a video on the Internet to raise awareness on child sex abuse (CSA).
Two months later, the video has been viewed by more than 33,000 people from over 25 countries and has helped change the lives of many children. The video, which teaches parents and caregivers to encourage children to recognise sex abuse by teaching them the basic difference between good and bad touch and asking them to confide in parents, has a simple technique to draw out children.
The idea, according to Dr Shukla, is to explain to parents and caregivers like teachers that they do not need professional help to educate and empower people about symptoms of abuse and how to deal with it. "This is to help people overcome the typical mentality that CSA is not something that can happen with our children. The video is about the simple art of talking and the mine of information it can draw out of children. The safety of children, be it resisting CSA or simple tasks like crossing the road or not playing with fire, is a parent's responsibility and not of professional," said Shukla.
Posting the video online has not only won him praise, but also brought in a variety of responses right from parents queries to even stories on how children came out with the truth."It is gratifying to know that the idea is helping people. Many parents mailed me with queries that their children came up with or which they had after they watched the video and spoke to their children about it.
At other times, parents have even written to me stating that their children identified with the situations and reported being a victim of some sort of abuse. Parents were able to block out or report these people who victimised the children and prevent them from further harm," said Shukla. Besides the 11-minute video that teaches a basic three-step approach to breaking the ice with children, Shukla said more information can be sought on his website www.childpsychiatrypune.com.