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Silent Epidemic: Awareness Session on Child Sexual Abuse

Child Abuse is a frighteningly common and hugely damaging issue that needs attention. An awareness session on child sexual abuse was conducted by the students of BS-Social Science of Health, NUMS Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences (NDSBS) on December 18th, 2019 at NUMS. The students under the mentorship of course instructor Ms. Taskeen Mansoor used presentations and role-plays to talk about the concept of child sexual abuse (CSA), physical and behavioral indicators, the role of family and educational institutions in socialization of children regarding CSA and the need for sensitive reporting of CSA in media. Brochures on CSA created by the students were disseminated to the audience comprising of DSBS faculty, staff and students. A group of students had created a video which dispelled myths related to CSA. Another group highlighted the CSA cases in Pakistan which have paved way for debate and formulation of necessary policies and laws on CSA. Some students had conducted field visits to different schools in the vicinity and shared how school principals talked about difficulty in verbalizing aspects of CSA with children and the ambiguity of the role of parents and teachers when handling a sensitive issue like CSA.  

The Head of Department, DSBS, Dr. Arif Mahmud commended the efforts of the students on addressing a sensitive issue that requires attention and collective effort. The audience members reflected on their experiences of teaching children about CSA as a parent, elder sibling or teacher. It was discussed that there is need to de-taboo words or introduce culturally appropriate terminology associated with CSA so that children receive adequate information about body anatomy or distinction between good and bad touch and are able to verbalize their untoward experiences.