On 20th September from 3pm to 4pm an educative awareness workshop on ‘Good Touch and Bad Touch’ was organized by the staff of Bosco Boys Home Boys, Borivali for the 32 children belonging to the classes of 5th to 10th of the orphanage. The programme was coordinated by Eustace Fernandes the Education in Charge with the help of 2 staff members Mr. Datta Gade and Mr. Mathew George.
It is the growing concern among parents and teachers about the safety of children which has forced Mumbai schools to drop their tight-lipped approach towards sex education and teach the children about safe and unsafe touches. Every single day, the media reports cases where young children, both boys and girls, are sexually abused by an adult around them. Every child needs to be taught that their body belongs to them and they have a right to protect it. With this in mind, and knowing that most of the children may not even be knowing when they are abused, the institute of Bosco Boys Home encouraged its staff to conduct a basic awareness programme on this theme for the children of the orphanage.
The workshop began with Eustace Fernandes showing the children an animated video ‘KOMAL’ to teach them how to identify the ‘No Touch’ areas, understand who are ‘Safe Adults’ and how to clearly communicate with parents about any bad experience. The animated video also highlighted how to handle a bad touch by shouting ‘NO’, running away from the person and informing a safe adult about the same. Mr. Eustace Fernandes quoted, “In today’s times, we hear a lot about child abuse and molestation. It’s high time, we start teaching young children about “Good Touch Bad Touch” to help prevent more damage. It is very important for the betterment of our young children that they know about all this and can deal with it if ever them come across a situation like this.” It was followed by a PPT presentation helping the children understand the difference between good and bad touch, under the guidance of the Prefect of Studies Dn. Romero Dsouza.
To simply the concept about safe/unsafe touch few true life incidents were shared by Mr. Datta Gade to the children with use of videos. Mr. Mathew spoke in depth about this sensitive topic and added how it had disturbed the lives of the many children and shattered their confidence and left a mark of revenge whereby the abused become the abusers and repeat this horrible crime on other children. There was also some practical session where few children were asked to volunteer and demonstrate few examples of good touch and bad touch such as hugging, pushing, slapping and patting on the shoulder for better clarity on the concept. The session concluded with one to one discussion among students. In this open discussion children spoke about the knowledge they received from the session and what preventive method they would adopt take to avoid this issue.
Master Raj Ravat, one of the boy aged 11 years said, “This programme taught me touching rules: the right and wrong touch and the correct names for different body parts. If I face this issue I will take help of elders and the superior in the campus and till I don’t inform them about this incident, I will not live the place.”
Master Bhavesh Wagela, a child from the street had this to add, “I have seen this happening at Platforms a lot and this video taught me not to take gift or sweet from the stranger and importantly not to keep anything secret but report the incident to elders”.
“Children often find it difficult to talk about sexual abuse because they don’t know the words to use, if children learn the exact [anatomical] words for private body parts, they will know the right words to be used. Besides, it will also help them know it is okay to talk about those body parts Most of the time, targets are very young, below 6-10 years or even adult. They are too young to understand the difference between right and wrong. The institute taught children about good touch and bad touch for their safety. It is still a susceptible subject for Parents and Teachers to converse to their children, so most of them do not want to chat or are uncomfortable to talk about this matter. At times, we hesitate to take up and verbalize on sensitive topics. It was a small stride by Bosco Boys Home staff and management to alert children’s about this susceptible topic. With this gathering, the children will now be able to distinguish and defend themselves against such dangers from an early age what is good touch bad touch. The goal is to inform the children about the dangers, without causing anxiety. The session gave insight that children should not be scared of that person and not to feel bad about themselves. They have not done anything wrong. It’s the other person who is guilty, not them.” Dn. Romero Dsouza further added.