Concern 1: Why does the video not warn children that parents could be abusers?
Why would a parent who abuses his/her child even show this video to their child? So, we do not want to teach children that their parents can be abusers. By law of nature across all species, parents are primary nurturers to their offspring.
However, in the video, there is a message that touching private parts should be only to wash them or if they are hurt in their private parts. There is also a message that tells them that they can reach out to someone they trust. So, though there is no explicit mention for children to suspect their parents, there is a subtle message for a child to potentially understand that he/she could be getting abused.
Concern 2: What if caretakers are abusers?
A lesson on child safety cannot be done as a single session. Children need to be educated from time to time. And the parents should take up the responsibility to do so. To address this, the workbook does exactly that. It has a pointer for parents that if a child is uncomfortable with adding anyone’s name, they should find out why and add names of people who the child is comfortable with. Further, if you register at our website, you will have access to the helpers which also tells parents that they need to exercise caution while adding names of caretakers. This video is for children and we do not want to explicitly mention that caretakers could be abusers as it would create fear in them. Our aim is to make tough conversations easy, so we can talk about it more comfortably.
Concern 3: In most cases it’s the people in the Circle of Love that abuse children.
Yes, we agree and understand. This is why the Circle of Love is defined as the people who can ONLY hold and love the child and it’s a fact that they already hold and hug the child. So when a person who is in the circle of love attempts to see, talk about or touch the child’s private parts, the child is alerted as it is only the caretakers who can see and touch the child’s private parts.
This is how the Circle Of Love would help
1. Prevents acquaintances and strangers from crossing the child’s physical boundary by attempting to hug them. A child would have the context to say that he/she is not comfortable.
2. Children are told to make their Circle Of Love with their parents. This opens a dialog between the parents and children.In case a child is uncomfortable with an aunt/uncle, it would be a platform to tell the parent that he/she is not comfortable; it would be something that the parents can act upon.
3. The child is now very clear that even though he/she could be hugging an aunt/uncle/other, if that particular aunt/uncle/other is not in his/her Caretaker list, he/she should not let them see or touch his/her private parts.
So, as a matter of fact, the Circle Of Love would actually prevent potential abusers in Circle Of Love from abusing the children.
Concern 4: Why is a dragon telling them all this? Why not one of the children’s parents?
Children love cartoons and unreal characters. And Ms.P is a friend and not someone of authority. And a lesson of empowerment coming from a friend instils more confidence in a child. They will believe that each one of them have the power to recognise and say NO to a potential abuser. The idea was also to keep it easy and fun for the children and the children who have watched this video have loved it. Imagine the power when a lesson on child sexual abuse is not scary for a child, but fun and empowering.
Concern 5: Why are good, bad feelings and intuition not being given importance?
Yes, we agree that a child’s instincts are the most important. That is why Ms.P repeats if they are uncomfortable, they should talk to mom, dad or someone they trust. All these concepts are re-iterated in the accompanying workbook.
Concern 6: Private Parts – Why should children be ashamed of private parts?
Yes, we agree that private parts are NOT dirty and there is no need for shame. Ms.P very clearly says that they are called private parts as they shouldn’t be shown in public and that even when they are swimming; they are covering their private parts.
Concern 7: The “No Go Yell Tell” method is better
No Go Yell Tell – is a good concept. But the challenge remains,
NO –For what should a child say NO?
The alerts help a child to understand to what they should say NO.
GO –To whom or where should the child GO?
The lesson tells the child where and whom to GO to.
YELL –For what should a child Yell?
The alerts help a child to understand for what they should YELL.
TELL –What will a child Tell?
With the Alerts, the children have the vocabulary to their parents.
Concern 8: Good/Safe Touch and Bad/Unsafe Touch versus Alerts
The challenge with this concept is:
If a child is alerted ONLY when touched by the abuser, the child might already be in danger as an abuser will not abuse the child in front of others.
Abuse is not restricted ONLY to touch. An abuser could show a child pornographic content or strip before the child. The abuser could also attempt to talk dirty with a child.
Alone Alert will alert a child when a stranger/acquaintance attempts to be alone with the child. See, Talk and Hold Alert will alert a child when people in circle of love attempt to abuse the child. Touch alert will alert a child when caretakers touch the child for reasons other than washing him/her.
So teaching a child that only touch can be a form of abuse is not enough.
Concern 9: The video is too long for a child to understand
The video is about 7 minutes long and there are lots of concepts to learn. A child can watch this video over and over again till the concepts get internalised. After which the child can watch the video every few months. We have noticed that children have liked the video lesson and enjoy watching it over and again.
One video is not going to solve the problem, so we have
1. Workbook, which is a child’s personal book where the child lists out his/her caretakers, circle of love and solves the quiz. All this makes it easy for the child to remember in an easy way.
2. Video for adults is an educational video for adults which sensitises the adults on child sexual abuse. It also urges all adults to stand for children in need and spread the message to increase awareness. Adults can also take a pledge for child safety.