Last year, in an outpouring of stories, recollections, support and awareness-building, a very successful and necessary movement was established across the Indian blogosphere: Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month 2011 brought survivors, parents, bloggers, readers, professionals and responsible citizens together, in a bid to spread awareness about child sexual abuse–the existence, the denial, the impact and the knowledge about how to prevent it and/or heal those already scarred.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why people–survivors as well as those fortunate enough to have been spared–were so impassioned about protecting the most vulnerable demographic in society–our children. And unless you’ve hibernated in a cave all your life, you will know/know of someone who has been through an experience of forced sexual interaction even before they reached adulthood.
Another year, another reminder that the movement needs to push on, networks need building, children need protection, survivors need to know they are not alone. The www, where we share some pretty intimate details of our lives, couched in the relative anonymity it offers, is a wonderful tool for sending these narratives into the world, for us to support, learn, prevent and heal–and, simply, offer a virtual hand that says “I have/ may not have been there, but I will walk with you.”
So how will you join us? Here are the ways you can:
1. Share a story on the CSAAM blog. It could be yours, it could be a friend’s–it just has to be true and requests for anonymity will be honored.
2. Share tips for survival, prevention and awareness-building. Your two cents could help someone immensely.
3. Pass around a video, a link, an article or an e-book.
4. Offer professional expertise if you are a mental health therapist / educator / psychiatrist / doctor/ lawyer /allied health professional.
5. Spread the word on your blog, if you have one, with the words “CSAAM April 2012” in the title. Put up the logo (you can copy the image above), link back to the CSAAM blog.
6. Tweet! @CSAawareness is the Twitter handle, #CSAAM is the hashtag.
7. Put up FB notes linking to the Facebook page.
8. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell the folks working so hard behind the scenes what a great job they’re doing. Nothing like a line of appreciation to make someone’s day.
9. Show support by displaying the Picsquare badge on your site/page/profile. Here is the code:
10.Participate/ask questions/ just listen in to tweetchats and podcasts by professionals and parents. Details will be shared on the CSAAM blog. I will be taking questions during a tweet chat in my capacity as a former mental health therapist for sexually abused children. Now how many of you knew that about me? Drop by, say hi, let’s talk.
11. Bring up the subject with your friends and family–the topic in general, this effort in particular. You may be surprised by what comes up when you share.
The movement this year will introduce a CSAAM app and sensitization workshops (Dilliwalas, first one’s for you!) that aim to take it offline and reach out to a wider audience.
Thank you for reading this.
Now, are you ready for April 2012?