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Some love her for her art of not mincing her words and others may hate her for it, but Kangana Ranaut clearly knows how to speak her mind. Recently, the Manikarnika actress sent everyone in shock as she bravely narrated her ordeal of sexual assault as a child. She revealed on a reality show that she was touched inappropriately at the age of 6 by a young boy in her hometown.
The actress said on the recent episode of the show, “All of us have been inappropriately touched at some point. I have faced this. I was a child and a young boy from our town used to inappropriately touch me. At the time, I did not know what it meant. No matter how protective your family is, all kids go through this”.
April is also observed as the month of Child Sexual Awareness, which makes Kangana’s traumatic experience worth talking about. She added, “Another point is that you are made to feel guilty for it. This is a huge crisis for kids in our society. Kids are psychologically traumatized and scarred for life. They face such endless troubles in life. This guy was three to four years older to me… perhaps he was exploring his sexuality. He would call us, get us all to strip and check us. We would not understand it at the time.”
Taking Kangana’s brush with child sexual harassment into account, it’s extremely critical to teach your kid about safe and unsafe touch. Learning what is a safe touch, and what’s not helps children develop self-awareness, trust their instincts, and seek help when in need.
Dr Kriti Israni, a child nutritionist, child development and parenting expert, spoke to Health Shots about how we can keep children safe from sexual harassment.
Dr Israni says, “If we teach our children about safe, unsafe touch; they develop a sense of awareness about self, about having a choice. They learn the importance of consent and the power it holds; they learn to say ‘No’ when they feel uncomfortable”.
When children are made aware of boundaries—what they are and why they are essential; they develop a sense of understanding for respecting the boundaries of others and how to protect themselves when it’s violated.
Awareness about good touch and bad touch help kids to connect with their inner self and follow their gut instinct in situations. We teach them that they should learn to listen and believe in themselves rather than go by what others tell them to do.
Kids develop what the term ‘safe’ means, what are the feelings associated with safety, and how can they differentiate between unsafe and safe feelings. In learning about unsafe and safe touch, kids develop a greater sense of safety.
As kids learn about safe touch, they become more aware of their body parts, the feelings associated with those parts, and what parts are considered “private”. It makes them overall more aware of their movements, actions, and behaviors.
When parents create a safe space for kids to open up and encourage them to share uncomfortable feelings that they experienced, both develop an unbreakable intimate bond. “Children learn that no matter what, they have their parents to support and protect them throughout their life. This helps them in developing more self-confidence and a greater sense of security.” says Dr Israni, who is also the founder of Hale & Hearty kids.
Children learn that irrespective of life changes, they will receive love and support unconditionally from their parents. They develop a deeper value and respect for their relationship with their parents. As growing kids in the world, support from guardians helps them realize their worth and fight when they feel discouraged or physically or emotionally violated.
While Kangana has always been a flagbearer of many social issues, it is tough to speak about sexual abuse and years of trauma it causes. We applaud her for her brave stand on it and raising more awareness on child sexual harassment.
It is your duty too to educate your children about it and have an open dialogue with them whenever possible.