The message is loud and clear. If you are uncomfortable about something, speak up. This is the motto of the chuppi todo launched in cities to help children living in economically backward areas and also those studying in government schools. Chuppi todo is a film that will encourage kids to break their silence against sexual abuse.
Child sexual abuse is rampant in India and most cases go unnoticed and unreported because kids feel ill at ease about talking about their experiences. Familial censure also acts as a barrier and they do not even open up to their parents. The aim of chuppi todo is to teach kids the difference between ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’. Performed as a skit, this film talks to kids about their everyday lives and how certain seemingly harmless acts are actually covert attempts at child sexual abuse. Most often a kid fails to distinguish between good and bad touch, giving in to the nefarious intentions of people who markedly and in most cases, scar the kid’s psyche for good. The film touches upon controversial issues such as incest and abuse within the family. It encourages kids to break their silence if something that even a close member of the family does, makes them uncomfortable. The idea is to make kids understand that it is okay for them to speak with their parents about any physical experience that has made them uneasy.
The film portrays its message through the central character, Chhaya, a girl who confronts and dismisses potential abusers once she is made aware of the lurking danger behind bad touch. It is also being hoped that the film will educate not just kids but parents, schools, the police and also the media about child sexual abuse. The first phase of chuppi todo will be launched in New Delhi by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights and will be conducted by non-governmental organisations.
The need for awareness regarding child sexual abuse is an important part of sex education. Statistics reveal that 53.22 % children studied under a national campaign have admitted to being abused at least one time in their lives. This appalling figure is a hint that kids are not safe; not even in their own homes and the only way in which they can hope to achieve justice is by breaking their silence against child sexual abuse.
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