Saturday, April 09, 2011

Our Boys Need Watching Over Too

I think one of the biggest misconceptions that people, especially those from the previous generation, harbour is that only girls need to be protected from sexual abuse. I have seen this in practice with my own mother. It does not occur to her that sending Ayaan somewhere alone in the car with a new driver or to an art teacher's (a man) house for art lessons is risky behaviour. Once I point out to her that I am not comfortable with it, she readily makes alternative arrangements but at some level, she thinks I am being paranoid and over-protective.

In reality, our sons are as much at risk. And we need to think about how we want to keep them safe, just as we would with our daughters.

For more on this, go read Monika's post on why our sons need our protection just as much. And then read Sue's post on what measures she takes to educate her son and keep him safe.

Also, there have been some folks who have been giving the organisers of this great initiative a lot of grief because this kind of stuff makes them uncomfortable and they think it is obscene and best kept out of the public domain. Well, that is exactly the reason why child molesters are able to do what they do and get away scot-free. Because we are only too willing to brush the whole thing under the carpet. Well, not anymore. It's time to bring this out in the open, talk about it and equip ourselves with all the knowledge we need to keep our kids safe.

16 comments:

  1. 'It's time to bring this out in the open, talk about it and equip ourselves with all the knowledge we need to keep our kids safe'.

    Absolutely.

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  2. Yes, our boys need protection too. We can not stress this enough. Paedophiles prey on their innocence too and we can not let that happen!!

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  3. Anonymous11:49 pm

    Rohini,

    Tulir, an organisation started by Vidya Reddy in Chennai did a 4 hour workshop 3 yrs ago which gave me a lot of information on this. Check their website. I have 2 sons and I find them as vulnerable as any girl child. The first lesson I learnt from Tulir and practice is that I refer to their genitals with the proper name. Nicknames are the first indication to a child that it is taboo. They withdraw from talking about it with you. Once they know you don't squirm when u talk about it, the communication channel opens. That's the key.

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  4. Ok sorry clicked the wrong button. Anonymous is me, Sai (saitherambler.blogspot.com) - read my piece called 'License at 4'

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  5. Completely agree with you. I am very protective of my child, and all my relatives and some friends too, make fun of me, saying I overdo things. But you know, I would rather overdo it, than repent! We certainly have to protect all kids, whether they are boys or girls does not make a difference. They are equally vulnerable!

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  6. I think boys are molested and harassed as much as girls. They are not even able to speak about it because society is not as sensitive to their need to be protected as it is with girls. Moreover boys face more bullying and are scared to report such incidences at the hands of their teachers and seniors.

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  7. Thanks Ro. M4 and I were talking about this just a couple of hours ago and isn't it striking how the boys deal with CSA by labelling it everything else under the sun? Both sexes use denial a lot but getting boys to talk about their experiences seems especially difficult. Scares me as the mother of one, to think that he may never come out with it even to his parents.

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  8. Anonymous10:30 pm

    www.tulir.org - check it out for some notes on protecting boys. It was started by vidya reddy in chennai. They did a session 4 yrs ago on CSA awareness and the first thing they told us was not to give nicknames to genitals and talk about normally. Then when they are 3 up talking about CSA will help ease the child into opening up a permanent channel of communication with the parent. It has helped me so far with my 2 boys.

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  9. Read "Real Boys' by William Pollack, if you can...it's an eye-opener as to how boys are programmed right from birth to 'fit in' with the societal norms. It's freakin' scary...

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  10. Here's a link to a friend's review http://lifeandtimesinbangalore.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/300-and-a-review/

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  11. Yes boys can be abused just as much as girls, and quite often by older boys. But then think too about all the abuses cases that came out against priests in the US and Germany! The main thing is to let every child know that it is perfectly ok to say no to anybody who's touch makes them feel uncomfortable and that anything that makes them uncomfortable, should be communicated to their mother/parent.

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  12. [Dipali] I read your post too. :(

    [M4] You know, I always thought that paedophiles were a small group of twisted men (and women) but the universality of these experience makes me eye every stranger in askance :(

    [Sai] Will check out your post

    [Writerzblock] I would like to strike a balance where I empower as well as protect. Don't know if that is possible :(

    [Hip Grandma] So true. I think with boys incidents often happen with slightly older boys as part of ragging/ bullying that the boys are supposed to take in their stride and not 'tattle'

    [Sue] This 'not telling parents' seems to be very common and worrying, irrespective of gender...

    [Starry] Thanks for the link. I will check it out.

    [Hillgrandmom] Yeah. I hope we can communicate that too our kids because so many people seem to have just not told their parents :(

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  13. that was started by Vidya Reddy had a workshop at my kids' playschool 4 yrs ago.

    It is shocking to hear the numbers they gave us on CSA. (Especially abused by parents)

    Boys or girls, the trusted, closely associated person is the one that knows their weakness and takes advantage.

    Keep the communication channel open is the only key, is what Tulir told us. Start with talking about body parts without feeling embarrassed. No nicknames for genitals - I think it is working with my kids.

    Parents and grandparents should be aware and not assume that this cannot happen to their child.

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  14. Ro, thanks for your post.

    Sai, CSAAM is proud to be associated with Tulir. :)

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  15. [Sai] Thanks for the tips and the links. I still haven't got around to the 'not using nicknames for genitals' bit.

    [CSA Awareness] Happy to help, as the Vodafone ad goes :)

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