Call it the ripple effect of the recent rape of a six-year-old girl, many parents’ associations have been seeking help to train the schools where their wards are studying and to teach their children on how to protect themselves.
Once shunned by many schools and other institutions, Enfold Proactive Health Trust, an NGO which conducts training programmes on such subjects as responsible sexuality and personal safety in schools, has now become the ‘flavour’ of the season.
Dr Shaibya Saldanha, founder of the Trust, said that when they initially wanted to conduct programmes on ‘personal safety education’ in schools, “we were told that such programmes are not required as the schools do not have such problems. Now after the recent incident, suddenly parents are calling and asking us to conduct these programmes.”
On the incident, Dr Saldanha said that since the child belonged to an educated family and the sexual assault occurred in an upmarket school, parents showed their anger and the episode was highlighted.
“Of late, we have been seeing numerous cases, many of which pertain to children from the lower social economic strata. Such cases clearly go unnoticed. Often the family and the child have to cope with the situation,” she added.
According to Dr Saldanha, nowadays parents only hear what their children say, but do not actually “listen” to them. Children often don’t share all the information with their parents as they do not find them “worthy of their trust”.
“I just want to ask the parents who are making such a noise about the issue whether they also speak up against known incidents of sexual abuse within their families,” she demanded.
The trust conducts programmes for children on responsible sexuality, life skills and personal safety in schools in a fun-filled manner.
The NGO was recently invited to conduct the programme at the birthday party of an eight-year-old so that children can learn “safe and unsafe touch” while partying.
Besides, the trust trains parents as well as teachers equipping them with tools to teach their children about responsible sexual behaviour and etiquettes.
It also conducts training programmes for medical practitioners, lawyers, police personnel, social workers and counsellors to support and empower children and adults who have been sexually abused.