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How many children, INDIAN children at that, are aware that they have rights ?
Does the under-aged boy working at that tea-stall near your office know that child labour is illegal ? Does his employer know that ?
How old is the “young” looking domestic help who cleans your house and washes your dishes ? Does she go to school ?
How many of us have been witnesses to incidents of child abuse and haven’t done anything about it ?
You know, the young urchin who got beaten up for sitting outside a shop and “obstructing the view” of potential customers ?
Or the little girl who was slapped by a pedestrian for bumping into her pristine white sari ?
“These things happen”, you say.
Reverse the faces on these photographs. Place yourself in the lives of these children.
Life is harder for them than you would ever imagine humanly possible.
Child Sexual Abuse is a regular occurence with these children [*this is to say that they belong to a high vulnerability level*]. The picture below is self-explanatory.
Here are a few Articles from the Convention on the Rights of the Child , as adopted by young students in an American school:
Here’s a little background, courtesy UNICEF’s website
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. In 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not. The leaders also wanted to make sure that the world recognized that children have human rights too.
For the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.
1. States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life.
2. States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.
1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
2. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.
1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular:
(a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all;
(b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, make them available and accessible to every child, and take appropriate measures such as the introduction of free education and offering financial assistance in case of need;
(c) Make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means;
(d) Make educational and vocational information and guidance available and accessible to all children;
(e) Take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates.
2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention.
3. States Parties shall promote and encourage international cooperation in matters relating to education, in particular with a view to contributing to the elimination of ignorance and illiteracy throughout the world and facilitating access to scientific and technical knowledge and modern teaching methods. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.
1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.
2. States Parties shall take legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to ensure the implementation of the present article. To this end, and having regard to the relevant provisions of other international instruments, States Parties shall in particular:
(a) Provide for a minimum age or minimum ages for admission to employment;
(b) Provide for appropriate regulation of the hours and conditions of employment;
(c) Provide for appropriate penalties or other sanctions to ensure the effective enforcement of the present article.
States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislative, administrative, social and educational measures, to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as defined in the relevant international treaties, and to prevent the use of children in the illicit production and trafficking of such substances.
How many rights do the children in the picture below have ?
The pictures represent the truth.
A truth that needs to be changed.
There are three reports in total , of which we have one. The articles required are from The Telegraph and The Indian Express
Elaan, in partership with SAATHII mehendi-tattooed and quized it’s way through WAD 2007 at Star Theatre this evening.
Participating NGO’s – SAATHII (they conceptualized the event and laid the foundation with Priya Entertainment), Elaan ( with CSA at the forefront of all activities ), Diksha (an organization that works with the children of sex workers) and SPARSH, an organization which works with positive patients (apologies if i am mistaken)
Venue – Star Theatre rooftop amidst visitors and a foodpark
Duration – 6:30 to 8:15pm
Elaan’s participation included – Overall documentation, The 20 question AIDS quiz with assistance from SPARSH and Mehendi tattoos for everyone ( keeps the AIDS ribbon on for longer).
Participants from Elaan : Pranaadhika, Mirna, Vijay, Madhurima, Mansi, Debolina, Abhinandan, Shreya, Bidisha and Chhandak ( who isn’t officially a part of Elaan yet but will be).
Invisible participation from photographer and uncle Vivek Devburman who wasn’t able to attend owing to an injury, but his camera made it. 🙂
Highlights : Souvik as Lola (a much “slimmer,sexier,cuter, more romantic” Bula di) and his assistant in his many avatars / Mirna’s beautiful “my brother nikhil” medley” and the sporting people who allowed us to (mehendi) tattoo them with AIDS awareness messages and their own NGO names. I have reason to believe that the latter option was rather popular !
Lowlights : The audience wasn’t particularly delighted at the concept, despite our best efforts. However, not to be dampened, the participants themselves went out of their way to involve the handful that were interested during the quiz and Souvik/Lola had everyone in splits with their one-liners. The lighting could have been better as it was an evening event. Kolkata shone and Kolkata froze us out.
The important thing is, we did not back down from our individual messages. Homosexuality, Child Sexual Abuse, “jonno” (the bangla word for sex) were all mentioned as part of the programme and that gave us all a lot of satisfaction.
CSR or not, my good sirs, you may NOT stifle our Constitutional right to free speech.
Special mention : The kids representing Diksha were Stupendous. Mindblowing.
Photographs are huge (file size), will upload later. More discussion/feedback on the orkut community.
Thinking about the Government’s recent wake-up call to Sex Education pulls me backwards to this event at Oxford Bookstore which we hosted way back in the summer of 2005.
Dr.Sibnath Deb and Brother Brendan MacCarthaigh attended and provided some valuable input on the past and present statistics of abuse and incest in India and abroad.
The latter speaker’s statements and crackling sense of humor educated and entertained while Dr.Deb’s statistics roused verbal violence in the form of audience members wishing to inflict extreme physical pain on offenders. I recall being asked to speak but felt no need to, owing to the chemistry between the speakers and the spoken with (not to, mind you!).
Here’s the URL , please ignore the photograph – http://www.telegraphindia.com/1050514/asp/calcutta/story_4735420.asp
Three examples of why online safety is recommended.
The aforementioned examples, although of cases not based in India, could very well be in India soon. As a matter of fact, they are occuring in local schools without the knowledge of parents and teachers.
A few years ago, a young student of St. *’s School, Kolkata, began meeting middle-aged men whom he discovered via online chat rooms. The men would meet him at his home, or theirs, and sexually abuse him.
A friend intervened and claimed to have “cured” him of his “homosexuality” and the matter was closed. The boy, now a confused young man, is unsure of his future and is reported to be scouting around online for the only solace he knows.
A young girl who had previously lived in a repressed social atmosphere, discovered freedom over the internet for the first time. She began communicating with a vengeance, “making friends” with everybody and even posting her personal cellphone number with semi-nude photographs on her online profile. It wasn’t long before she began receiving solicitations that went beyond coffee invitations.
There are so many cases, all in India. Unless the media and society wake up to the fact that it does happen to their own people in this very country, it will continue to be a sad, repressed, pressure-cooker like existence for these victims of online sexual abuse who’s fate and post-abuse trauma is similar to those who face regular abuse.
There’s nothing remotely new or shocking about the concept of teachers taking advantage of students.
You might want to educate yourself to the fact that some students try taking advantage of teachers as well.
Teachers have crushes on students and vice versa (Dylan anyone?)..
Murshidabad URL – http://telegraphindia.com/1071108/asp/bengal/story_8525018.asp
Orkut has been duly updated for comments and input.
I recall a particularly handsome male tutor-slash-musician-slash-relative whom i never crushed on personally (too old), but my friends went nuts over him like he was Jim Morrison. It was silly the way they’d queue up to go to his classes just to sit and stare at him while he taught ( he was a good teacher btw), some people even claimed that he reciprocated their emotions. Yuch.
Then there was another female tutor. Lord help anyone who got on the wrong side of her at any time of the day. She gave “volatile” a new dimension altogether, but for money and male students, it was all toned down to a degree that although there wasn’t a free show on in front of your face, you just knew something was wrong.
There’s a teacher at a famously “vigilant” college who is famed for more than his erm, educational prowness. Everyone knows. The girls blog and write odes to him quite shamelessly. 🙂
There’s another teacher at the same college who has a reputation for a little more than just odes on a blog by a student. No matter how many insults i get for writing this, i will do so – student-teacher abuse.
When are student-teacher relationships non-abusive ?
For one, when both are adults! Preferably when they are not in that uncomfortable hierarchy of “me teacher, you student” and that creates an automatic imbalance in the relationship, like it or not. Keeping it out of the classroom would help.
The team was awoken from it’s mid-week stupor by a group of young (ok not-so-young!) video bloggers from Channel [V] Mumbai.
The team was in the city, shooting for a documentary series titled “My India Report” or MIR, which is on air from November [Thursdays 7:30pm only on Channel [v]!!].
URL : http://www.myindiareport.in
What interested us about the concept was –
Free speech (ah!) 🙂
Current issues in focus
Common target groups
Pujarini, Shreya, Rohit, Vijay and yours truly responded to the team’s intelligent questions and at points, i think we developed a heightened respect for each other’s self-confidence, esp’ Pujarini’s “virginity” response!
Credit goes to the [V] team for asking offbeat questions on Sex education and allowing us to speak freely on relevant topics such as CSA, Incest, Law and CSA, Virginity, Sex, Marriage, Politics, Education and a plethora of other matters that DO affect our generation.
Azhar wrote a lovely account of his experience in Kolkata here – http://www.myindiareport.in/2007/09/21/sexual-abuse-hiv-and-the-city-of-joy
We’re waiting for the first Kolkata episode of MIR now, and are hoping fervently, that we haven’t messed up!
Thank you to Azhar and the Channel [V] team for a memorable evening. 🙂
I am the FudgeQueen. I would prefer to be known just as that for now, till we are better acquainted. This blog will focus on providing consistent updates and informative essays on Child Sexual Abuse.
My group is called Elaan. We have been around since July 2004. We will be a registered NGO by January 2006. Till then the movement to spread awareness on Child Sexual Abuse is being spearheaded by me. Its tough but relevant.
What IS Child Sexual Abuse and why bother crying yourself hoarse over it when it’s about something that happened in the past ?
That’s a question that i have been asked by all and sundry. After tiring myself out with diplomatic responses, i feel that this, i.e. today, is the right time to set the record straight.
I have had personal experiences with facing abuse, and have been through hell with dealing with the aftermath of it. I see myself as a living example of a survivor who, after (finally) receiving support and love, is still not completely over it.
The aftermath is what is even more dangerous than the abuse itself.
WHITE NOISE – THE CONCERT DEDICATED TO PROMOTING NEW MUSIC JUXTAPOSED WITH A RARELY ATTEMPTED ENDEAVOUR (CSA AWARENESS), IS HAPPENING ON
Thursday the 23rd of November
at Swabhumi – The Heritage Park from 5pm onwards.
Entry fee is only 10 bucks.
Performing artists –
CASSINI’S DIVISION – the gods of alt (:D)
HOOF HOOEY – passionate punk rockers
A-LIST – Ash,Ashwini,MKB, your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper.. check him out here
Thats all for now folks, comments welcome.