Chhavi Dawar, a young Indian woman, is a passionate child rights activist, a social changemaker and an online campaigner at change.org_India. A child abuse survivor herself, she understands the pain a child goes through after being abused. This is the reason she has dedicated her life to educating the kids, the teachers and the parents in India about how to fight against this disgusting evil which robs children of their innocence and joys. Here’s the story of her life and work written by herself. Read the post and admire this Wonderful Woman!
Break The Silence About Child Abuse
The future of any great nation stands on the tender shoulders’ of its younger generation. The quality and security of their childhood determine the way their personalities will develop. Therefore, as a society, it becomes the responsibility of every adult to protect and give all children a secure childhood.
I am a member of “Break The Silence“ a citizens’ initiative, formed by a group of like-minded individuals in the twin cities of Hyderabad & Secunderabad in India to work in the area of prevention of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) through awareness workshops for children (age-appropriate) , parents, teachers, school staff, and civil society.
I am a Ph.D. scholar studying developmental biology at CSIR-CCMB, Hyderabad. For the last 3 years, I am a volunteer at Break The Silence with a singular aim to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse(CSA) through awareness programs.
I have only one dream that no child has to ever suffer in silence, not understanding what is happening? The feeling of “What is this happening to me?” “Why me? , What should I do? Who will believe me ?” is not a good feeling to have at such a tender age, and I know that personally. Children should know everything about personal safety, they need to know that should there be any incidence of a situation/touch that feels uncomfortable they can report it to parents and teachers and that they will believe and help. As a 6-year-old, I had no knowledge of what was happening, or if I could do something about it or how and what to tell my parents? Not knowing what was being done to me and whom to turn to for help made it much worse, having long term effects, difficult teenage, panic and anxiety disorders, anger issues. It took me 25 years to accept what had happened and move ahead in life. And I would give my life for the safety of children so that no child has to go through the same.
Therefore I strongly believe, children need to be taught about private parts, safe/unsafe touch and trusted adults as early as they start talking and understanding other things. If a child doesn’t understand what’s happening, it’s impossible for the child to tell someone about it and the perpetrators know this. For the very same reason that they don’t understand safe/unsafe touch, they are an easy target for the perpetrators and the vicious cycle of “secrets” starts.
We need to understand that education is empowerment and knowledge is the key to our fight against Child Sexual Abuse (CSA). With sessions in over 15 schools, I have empowered ~10,000 students of all age groups with personal safety education and have trained ~1000 parents, teacher and school staff about their crucial role in protecting our children and identifying sudden behavioral, physiological, physical or emotional changes that a child might display and how they can help a child in need.
Recently in June 2019, I was selected for the She Creates Change (SCC5) program by change.org India. I now have my own online campaign for the prevention of CSA (change.org/breakthesilence) with a simple aim, asking CBSE to issue a directive to all 21,500 affiliated schools to conduct a compulsory annual training for all students so that they know how to identify sexual abuse and how to report it. Once CBSE agrees to do this, it will become a pioneering role model for other boards to follow.
Until this happens I will continue my fight against CSA by doing these sessions and urge each one of you to join my fight against CSA. Lets us come together and make it a commitment to #BreakTheSilence around #ChildSexualAbuse.
Connect With Chhavi
Petition link: change.org/breakthesilence