In the last two months, I have interacted with many residents of Goregaon east, who are doing incredible work for the greater common good. The spectrum of work is varied – environment, wildlife, children’s rights, robotics, green industries, tribal welfare, culture and so much more.
I now start a new section in the blog, Highway Heroes. It aims to be a story that celebrates these people’s work and passion for it. Without such dedicated individuals, society at large and our own neighbourhood at close hand, would be bereft of value creation.
GHP’s first Highway Hero is Vasuda Arora who is a professional dealing with women and child abuse. Read on to know more about her…
Did you know that teasing a child unneccesarily for a long period of time is a way of child abuse? That not listening carefully to what he or she has to say can constitute emotional and psychological abuse? My interaction with Vasuda Arora, a mental health professional who main area of interest is child rights and child abuse, has made me pull up my socks. The reason she is a Highway Hero on GHP this month is because her work and efforts influence the healthy and happy lives of our children.
Qualified with a master’s degree from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Arora has worked on issues of violence against women and children. She now works as a change facilitator addressing mental, physical and behavioural issues that require change. Working with adults and children, both individually and in groups, her years of experience have helped those who have been traumatised to reform their lives and themselves towards positivity and strength.
Daily talk, things of play and ways of conduct are so often taken for granted, when it comes to our interactions with children – ours as well as those of others. First and foremost in the list is our long-standing problem of calling the human body’s private parts by their actual names. ‘When we teach children eyes, ears, stomach etc., why can’t we teach them words like “penis” and “vagina”? Arora asks. Instead, we attach so much shame and embarrassment to the actual names that talking about problems related to the penis and vagina becomes difficult.
Teaching children that these are important parts of the body that help us to perform daily functions is a way of normalising the whole physical awareness for them. Once this normalisation sets in, any issues related to these parts – wounds, pain, uncomfortable touching by any person – makes it easy for them to talk about it with their parents or guardians. Arora works actively in her counselling and guidance sessions to ingrain this normalisation in the minds of those who seek her help.
On Saturday, August 20, Vasuda Arora will be talking on Child Abuse – Awareness and Interaction at Eskay Resorts in Borivali west. Her intent is to speak to parents and to families at large about an issue that anyone with children around them is wont to worry about but isn’t sure of how to discuss openly. In the discomfort of our own thoughts and worries, social stigma and other roadblocks, the security and safeguarding of children is being compromised and put on the back burner. There needs to be a confidence and trust in a parent or guardian, for a child to feel secure enough to discuss anything – whether abuse has happened or not and whether directly or indirectly.
Arora gives substantial methods, techniques and advice on how to make oneself and one’s children empowered against abuse. With technology being so easily accessible for children – phones and iPads being readily given to them to play games on – cyber stalkers are a serious threat. How should one be aware and safeguard children from innocently giving identification and residential credentials to anyone who asks for it online? How to walk the line between making them aware of threats and not making the world only seem like a dangerous, negative place? Arora can help you address these issues to make the process of securing children an informed and sustainable one.
That, at the end of the day, is the prime point of being more aware about child abuse. It is not about becoming more scared and in turn depicting a totally monstrous picture of the world outside to our children. Rather, it is to understand and respect the myriad facets of a child’s life and in turn make them respect and trust us so that together we can fortify ourselves against a lifetime of trauma.
Talk: Child Abuse: Awareness and Interaction
Day and date: Saturday, August 20th
Time: 10. 30 am – 12 noon
Venue: Eskay Resorts, Off Link Road, Borivali West.
The talk is open to all and is free of charge.