The trainers will then conduct such workshops every year in more than 50,000 schools in that state. In contrast to the active role Chhattisgarh is playing in checking sexual abuse of children, the state government is still in slumber mode and has not taken any significant steps to prevent the crime.
The issue of child sex abuse was brought into sharp focus after the second episode of Aamir Khan’s TV show Satyamev Jayate that dealt with the sensitive subject was telecast on May 13. The show brought out a common but rarely discussed scourge, the sexual abuse of children, a crime often committed by the very people the young ones trust the most.
For a week or so after the show there was a steep rise in the number of cases reported to NGOs like Childline and Disha working in the field of prevention of child sexual abuse, and then the discussions and focus on the issue died out, at least in the state.
In the case of Chhattisgarh, the government there is as serious about the issue as it was a year ago, when it took the remarkable step of forming a Child Rights Protection Commission to fight for the rights of the children and keep a check on child labour, child abuse and their right to education.
After the CRPC contacted Shukla a week ago, the tentative dates of the workshop were worked out as August 16 and 17.
In the workshop, Dr Shukla will train 40 people on how to talk to children about the sensitive topic of sex abuse in a gentle manner, using language the young ones understand.
Shukla will stress on the importance of children identifying one safe adult whom they can trust and vent their feelings in the hour of their need. The 40 trainers will then train others and this way the programme is expected to reach 50,000 schools in two years.
“I was really happy that the Chhattisgarh Government has understood the gravity of the issue and taken up the challenge of spreading the message to all the school children,” Shukla said. “I think all state governments should actively participate in the effort to check such crimes and have a proper mechanism to take action against abusers while monitoring the investigation. The Maharashtra Government should wake up – it’s morning.”
CRPC secretary Prateek Khare said the commission, which has an annual budget of Rs 60 lakh, came across a video by Shukla on the Internet and was impressed enough to contact him.
“This commission was formed a year ago and an annual budget of Rs 60 lakh is allotted for its functioning, Khare said. “We contacted Dr Shukla after coming across his video on YouTube and then Satyamev Jayate did the rest. This workshop will be of immense help and we aim to cover all the state schools within two years and it does not involve much cost.” Having trained in psychiatry in India and the UK, Dr Shukla has been dealing with mental health issues of children and families for long now.
From 2008 onwards, after he returned from the UK, he has conducted several workshops in various city schools. In June 2011, he along with a film reviewer friend, Meera Kabra, and a few students of Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication (SIMC) shot and launched a video of his workshop. The 11-minute video educates children about good touch and bad touch, and encourages them to report abuse.