The case about little Zainab created a vivid buzz among people of all ages in Pakistan. From Facebook to Twitter youngsters, celebs, elderly, and even government officials were talking about how these pedophiles should to be hanged to death. But this sadly is not the solution. There are still countless innocent Zainabs out there, who will continue to be exploited until they are trained to avoid such mishaps. And for that we need to create awareness in our children.
What we need is to teach children about ‘stranger danger’. Parents or adults can’t always supervise the young ones, which means that little minds need to be educated about the dangers of the world. How predators, not the ones roaming in the jungles but the ones in our society, approach and exploit children.
Here are some easy and simple ways to let your children know what ‘stranger danger’ is and what they can do in a situation where they feel their safety is threatened.
Strangers Aren’t Always Scary
This is perhaps difficult to acknowledge…that just because someone does not look scary, they would not be. If you ask a child about a stranger they will describe them as someone who looks creepy or villainous, like those in cartoon or movies. In real life though, this is far from the truth. Pedophiles ensure they look appealing and perfectly harmless to kids and parents alike, so that they don’t ring any alarm bells. And this is exactly what you need to make your kid aware of.
The Good Touch and the Bad Touch
There is absolutely nothing more important than this! Sadly, in our so-called conservative society, even adults don’t understand this concept. We force our children into situations where they are neither comfortable nor happy. From the time a child turns two, you need to instill in them the idea of ‘haaya’, or ‘shame’. They should:
- Never poop or pee in front of anyone except mommy because they need her help. And avoid that too once they can wash themselves.
- Not allow anyone to touch their private parts, not daddy, not brother, sister, aunty, uncle, grandmother, grandfather or even mother once they know how to wash themselves. Unless of course, there is a medical condition.
- Never sit in the laps of any male relatives, friends or family once they are over 6 years old.
- Never allow anyone to kiss them on the mouth or any place other than what is normal like the hand, forehead, cheek or head.
The good touch is like patting on the head or back in praise, or when scolding. Bad touch is when someone touches their private parts, chest or whatever makes them feel uncomfortable.
Train Children to Talk to Parents
Train your children to confide in you about everything, no matter how shameful, painful or scary it may seem to them. Children become easily intimidated and threatened, and are scared to tell their parents about what might be happening to them. You need to get things out of them and make sure they come to you if any kind of abuse is going on.
On the other hand, if a child confides in you regarding some inappropriate behavior, make sure to take immediate action. Don’t ignore it or make the child feel guilty about being the abuser.
Only through awareness and educating our children we can truly eradicate cases of rape and child abuse from our system.