ActionAid India, an agency working with vulnerable communities since 1972 to further social and ecological justice, in partnership with WATConsult, a digital agency in the Dentsu Aegis Network’s bouquet, has launched #JoinTheDots, a campaign to highlight child sexual abuse. The campaign aims to prevent the incidence of abuse as well as encourages adults to address such violence with a call to action to See, Listen and Act.
The campaign video launched digitally, opens with a mother’s narrative showcasing a strong bond with her son, threaded together by their intimate and candid moments. It further highlights subtle signs of behaviour change in the child that parents unintentionally tend to ignore, considering it normal.
The film points out that the behavioural signs of a sexually abused child can be very similar to the signs caused due to other conditions or stress, physical or mental. It emphasizes that these signs are all present around us and adults just need to spot them and address them in time. Parents and guardians have to encourage a culture of regular communication with their child and be vigilant to acknowledge hints. This would help prevent or tackle any incidences of abuse, with the child’s best interests in mind.
To make it simpler, the campaign video leads to a ‘Conversation Starter Tool’ on the website: www.jointhedotsnow.com. The tool enables an interestingly active conversation between a responsible adult and the child in her/his care. Through this, the child can speak about the different worlds she/he inhabits, every day, and what she/he experiences and feels in these worlds.
The conversation would also help the adult to invite the child into their world so that children can also learn about the emotions and feelings that adults might have. Through these conversations the adult will be in a better place to understand the emotions of the child, helping the adult to always act in the best interests of the child.
Elaborating on the campaign, Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director, ActionAid India said, “ActionAid India remains committed to working for the protection of children, especially girls, from discriminatory practices of sex-selective abortions, trafficking, and sexual assault. Over the years we have worked with allied organizations, the administration and policymakers to bring change on the ground for the protection, nutrition, and education of children. Children’s vulnerability will remain till children in all contexts are recognized as equal citizens. In the family, this calls for children being listened to and their interests being considered as equal, if not of paramount interest. Through the “Join the Dots” campaign, we want to help adults see, listen and act in the best interests of children.”
Working with a number of State Governments, ActionAid has been able to make a positive impact on ensuring good quality public education accessible to all children, the laws prohibiting child marriage are strengthened in multiple states and also the laws against child labour are stringent.
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