Indian Documentary Film Maker Tackles Child Abuse
9/27/2013 8:37 AM
Indian film makers are tackling child abuse in an innovative way... by releasing educational videos to YouTube. One of these was made by documentary film maker, Sanjay Kumar Singh, and is called "Chuppi Todo" (Break the Silence.)
"The film, which is the first in the series and available on YouTube, is largely enacted through mime with a voice-over. The narrative follows two children Rahul and Sania who are close friends and enjoy reading and playing together. One day while playing hide-and-seek in a neighbor's house, Rahul is urged by his neighbor to hide behind him and is then covered with the shawl that the man was wearing and pulled onto his lap. A frightened Rahul runs away and later relates his ordeal to Sania who informs him that once a similar incident had happened to her but that her mother had taught her to say NO. She takes a shaken and embarrassed Rahul to her mother, reassuring him that she would be the right person to help him. Sania's mother calms the children and then educates them about safe and unsafe touch, to say NO to the latter and run away. The children are also taught how they should not keep these things a secret (even if the abuser entreats/ threatens them to) and report it to their mothers or other responsible adults. The film also teaches children that even if they are not able to clearly identify the nature of a touch, if it makes them uncomfortable, it is best to refuse and report it." You can read more about it and others here.
The article quotes author-blogger, Sweta Vikram, on how culture could impact a child getting help. Many of her statements ring true to Muslim culture as well.
"Respect your elders" or "Don't question what the older folks say" or "Elders are never wrong," is what we are brought up to believe. Children are loved and pampered, not respected as individuals. Their opinions and experiences either hold no value or are labeled as "cute" or "imaginative." And for those of us who are or were rebellious morons and seek answers to everything illogical even as a kid, we are chastised or labeled as "disrespectful." How many children or even adults do you think can be okay with feeling like an outcaste?
We are also brainwashed to keep our dirty laundry at home. So, even when the crime of sexual violence is and was happening, many children don't speak up against it because of fear or shock or shame or confidence or lack of support. Or if they were being heard, the reaction might mean: handle matters quietly."
Watch the film. Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page. Do you know of Muslim documentary film makers tackling these issues? If so, please share.