Chilling Video Reminds Parents Their Kids Aren’t Safe From Sexual Abuse

A new campaign asks Indian citizens to put a ‘full stop’ to child sexual abuse.
Sep 24, 2015·
Samantha Cowan is an associate editor for culture.

A favorite teacher. A beloved relative. A trusted coach. Child sexual abuse can happen anywhere, and that’s just what this PSA from the Full Stop campaign hopes to convey to parents.

“Children are not safe even in so-called safe havens like our homes, schools, and gyms,” reads the video’s description.

The video is part of the Full Stop campaign launched Thursday to raise awareness about child sexual abuse in India. Part of the ongoing work of Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s Bachpan Bachao Andolan or Save Childhood Movement, Full Stop has branded itself as India’s first comprehensive online platform supporting survivors and offering resources to families.

The first video is titled “Listen,” but it urges parents to try to hear what their children can’t say, as “they may be trying to tell you something either by…drawings, or their behavioral changes.”

Approximately two children are abused every hour, with 20,000 reported cases in India every year, according to the campaign’s figures. The real number is likely much higher. In a 2007 survey conducted by the Indian government of nearly 12,500 children across the country, more than 40 percent reported instances of sexual abuse. And of course, child sexual abuse isn’t limited to India. A 2013 report—which combed through 55 studies from 24 countries—found that roughly 20 percent of girls and 10 percent of boys suffered sexual abuse. Those numbers hold true in the U.S., with 20 percent of adult women and 5 to 10 percent of adult men recalling instances of sexual abuse, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime.

Across the globe, many children do not come forward about abuse, often because they are manipulated, confused, or—if they know their abuser, like the fictional boy in the video—to protect their abuser. In India, that secrecy is exacerbated by a fear that their community may shun them if they come forward. Human Rights Watch reports that even when children do speak out, police officers often encourage families not to press charges in order to keep the family’s dignity intact.

The Full Stop campaign is working to remove that social stigma by breaking the silence around sexual abuse. As child victims and adult survivors can find support systems through the program, supporters are encouraged to post pictures of a hand painted red, calling for a “full stop” to child sexual abuse.