This Activist, Mother And A Survivor Is Helping Kids To Speak Up Until Someone Listens

“My uncle, my father and my grandfather keep shoving their hands into my private parts.” said a four-year-old, her frail body trembling just by the mere thought of it. According to National Crime Records Bureau, every hour in India, 4 children suffer from sexual abuse, with kids as young as few months old.

Yet, when it comes to making kids understand about "sex and sexuality" most parents and teachers prefer to "brush it under the carpet," believes Nusrat Khan Pahade.

Nusrat And Cactus Foundation

Nusrat Khan Pahade is an activist, mother and a survivor of child sexual abuse. After going through the horrifying act herself, she knows what comes along with it. The guilt, shame and the blame for the victims instead of sexual perpetrators. It can play havoc to a child's self-esteem. 

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Nusrat is now determined that no other child should ever go through the emotional and physical trauma of abuse. That wish led to the formation of Cactus Foundation, by this they hope to wage a war against the silence and lack of awareness surrounding such acts and through this create an ideal environment for the kids. This foundation is run by group of volunteers comprising mostly of homemakers, they also have a core team which has been with the organization for more than 16 years.     

The Touch

To achieve the above goal this foundation works with parents, teachers, schools and other organizations to raise awareness on child sexual abuse and along with that educate kids on "safe and unsafe” touch. So that no kid is ever silent about his/her trauma and carry on living with guilt and shame. 

Forced Silence

The most important aspect they feel that they need to work on is the way families who try to silence the kids about such incidents.

“Since the perpetrators are usually known to the families, the members will urge to bury the issue,” says Asif Iqbal, the principal of a school partnering with Cactus. He further adds that, “If it’s a female child, for example, the family worries about what the society will think, or whether people will look at her with the wrong intentions. But people should remember that it is not the child’s fault. It is the fault of the cruel wrongdoer,” he added.

If we think boys are safe, we are wrong. Boys are at an almost equal risk of sexual abuse, according to a report by the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare – 52% to 60% of children who were sexually abused were boys.

Educating Children And Their Parents

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Cactus is working hard to ensure that children are heard and conversations about sex and sexuality are no more avoided.  This can only be done through educating and creating awareness, but it is not as simple as it seems. Most of us feel child sexual abuse is just a physical act. But in reality, according to The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, making a child watch objectionable content, and making any form of inappropriate gestures or sounds with sexual intent, is a form of sexual abuse. 

The only thing that holds a key to this problem is educating children about this. 

Positive Changes

Wahida Begum, a teacher with a partnering NGO, has noticed the positive results. “The children now know the difference between a safe and unsafe touch. They no longer feel shy or ashamed to share about the issue, and know what to do,” she says.She further adds: “Now they tell us: ‘We will tell our parents. If they don’t listen, we will tell the teachers. We will speak until someone listens."

Nusrat though is brain behind this foundation, is practical enough to know change cannot happen in a day. According to her, "At the end of the day, it is just the first step we are taking to try to create this awareness.” Adding to that she says “Maybe not this generation, but I’m sure the next generation will be bold enough, will be courageous enough to fight and stop child sexual abuse, and to talk about it.” 


We at Kenfolios hope to see the foundation successfully bring the children and their parents out of the shell and discuss things about themselves without feeling guilty and shameful about it.


Picture Source: Lifebeyondnumbers and ourbetterworld.com





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