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Aamir Khan speaks about CHILDLINE and Child Sexual Abuse on Satyamev Jayate

CHILDLINE 1098 Service » News » Aamir Khan speaks about CHILDLINE and Child Sexual Abuse on Satyamev Jayate

Aamir Khan speaks about CHILDLINE and Child Sexual Abuse on Satyamev Jayate

On the show

Whom does a child turn to when the one he trusts with all of his heart turns abuser? In a nut-shell, the second episode of Aamir Khan's television show was simply heart-wrenching. It brought out a common but rarely talked-about scourge of society - the sexual abuse of children - often by people they trust the most.

The much-talked-about show - Satyamev Jayate hosted by the eloquent Amir Khan was a game changer for CHILDLINE and the issue of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) in India.

The programme introduced to the Star TV audience the devastating issue of CSA, hugely prevalent in India. The show began with a study revealed by the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India stating that 53% of children who had been interviewed had been subject to one or more form of sexual abuse. Following this, victims of CSA, now adult survivors narrated their painful experiences on national television, opening dialogue on this issue. Later, Nishit Kumar from CHILDLINE India Foundation appeared on the show to speak on the work done by CHILDLINE for CSA and discuss the milestone judgement passed by the Supreme Court on the Anchorage case. Aamir also invited individuals working closely with children who had been victim to CSA, allowing the audience to understand the issue at greater depth. Finally, children were called on to the show and an awareness workshop was conducted by Aamir himself teaching children about which parts of the body were 'danger' parts urging them to scream anytime something like this happened and simply run to a safe area.

Questions to ponder over

Aamir was successful in discussing those issues pertaining to CSA which are most often pushed under the carpet. It was the beginning of sowing the seeds in the minds of the audience:

  • Do we acknowledge the fact that our children are under threat even at home?
  • What are the myths surrounding the issue of CSA?
  • What is the impact of sexual abuse on children and adult survivors?
  • Why don't we discuss the issue of sexual abuse with our children?
  • Are we open to listening to our children disclose what might have happened to him/her?

The law on CSA in India

Nishit Kumar, CHILDLINE India Foundation highlighted the fact that there were no laws to deal with CSA in India. "Our comprehensive constitution simply has no laws to deal with child sex abuse. This leads to various loopholes that can allow the perpetrator to escape." For example if a child has been forced to indulge in oral sex instead of traditional penetration, then by the law of the land the child hasn't been abused at all. He also showed how the victims are badly treated, be it in the courtroom, by the media or the hospital, which leads to double victimisation.

Aamir Khan speaks about CHILDLINE and Child Sexual Abuse on Satyamev Jayate

CHILDLINE has been tiling the fields on this issue for a long time now. From receiving calls, conducting interventions, advocating at the local and national level to introducing a standalone program on CSA awareness in schools, CHILDLINE works relentlessly to help children in need of care and protection.

Aamir urged people to write in to support a Child Sex Abuse law which was awaiting implementation in the Rajya Sabha. In the end, he proposed a very pertinent question 'Do we need a strong and specific law against sexual abuse of children?'

The ripple effect

The show had an immediate impact.

Firstly, there was a rise in calls received on 1098 from all across the country. Secondly, it helped 'break the silence' that surrounds the issue of CSA. The victims on the show set examples for those across the country to come out and report the perpetrators. Adult survivors and children were not afraid to speak up and get justice!

Two weeks after Aamir Khan touched upon the subject of child sex abuse, the bill targeting the CSA offenders finally got a nod in parliament.

We thank Aamir Khan from using a national platform to bring awareness on the issue of CSA and the work done by CHILDLINE.

Satyamev Jayate!

If you have missed the episode, you can catch it here: http://www.satyamevjayate.in/issue02/

Aamir Khan speaks about CHILDLINE and Child Sexual Abuse on Satyamev Jayate
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