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Empowering girls to speak out against sexual abuse and stay safe from pedophiles: 7 tips from a psychologist | health news


In a shocking incident in Uttar Pradesh’s Muradnagar district, after a 13-year-old Class 6 girl fainted due to severe abdominal pain, a doctor’s diagnosis revealed that she was pregnant. After further investigation, the girl revealed that the accused – a 20-year-old neighbor – had visited their house for months in her father’s absence. He then raped her and threatened her with dire consequences if she told anyone, police said.

As horrible as the incident is, what’s worse is that it’s no exception. Every day, cases of rape and torture against women, including minor girls, are reported, while many more go unreported. In many cases, girls – developing a sense of shame from society and because of unfavorable conditions at home – do not confide in their parents when something untoward happens to them. However, experts point out that empowering girls to speak up is essential. Dr. Munya Bhattacharya, Consultant – Psychologist at Marengo Asia Hospital, Gurugram, shares her views.

Fighting sexual harassment: How to help girls stand up for themselves

In a world where sexual harassment remains a pervasive threat, empowering girls to speak up and stay safe is paramount, noted Dr. Munya Bhattacharya. As a psychologist specializing in child development and trauma, the doctor says she recognizes the critical importance of fostering an environment where girls feel empowered to assert their boundaries and seek help when needed. In this article, she outlines the do’s and don’ts to encourage girls to speak out against sexual abuse, strategies to keep them safe from children and adolescents, and ways to raise awareness without spreading fear.

1. Create a supportive environment at home: Encouraging girls to speak out against sexual abuse starts with creating a safe and supportive environment. Encourage open communication, educate them about their bodies and boundaries, and teach them about consent. Listen carefully, validate their feelings, and avoid victim-blaming.

2. Teach girls to trust their instincts: Empowering girls to trust their instincts and seek help during uncomfortable times empowers them to assert their agency in challenging situations.

3. Don’t dismiss: Avoid dismissing their concerns, pressuring them to disclose before they are ready, or using fear tactics that could hurt or prevent them from seeking help.

4. Don’t victim-blame: Avoiding blaming the victim and downplaying the problem should also be avoided in order to maintain a supportive environment.

5. Monitor online activity, teach them to say ‘no’: Keeping girls safe from pedophiles involves a multi-pronged approach. Educating them about boundaries, online safety and healthy relationships is essential. Monitor their online activity and teach them to say no to unwanted advances

Also Read: Suchana Sheth: How A Mother Can Kill Her Child! Psychiatrists explore complex causes

6. Raise awareness without scaring them: It is important to be cautious about your daughter’s social interactions and positions without arousing unnecessary fear. Raising awareness without inciting fear requires sensitivity and age-appropriate communication. Empowering messages about rights, boundaries, and personal agency can be delivered positively.

7. Build Confidence: Reassuring girls that they can always come forward with concerns and providing practical safety strategies, such as buddy systems and emergency contacts, help build confidence without instilling fear.

“In conclusion, empowering girls to speak out against sexual abuse and stay safe from pedophiles requires a comprehensive approach that balances support, education and awareness. By implementing these strategies, we can create a safe environment where girls can assert their boundaries. Feel empowered and seek help when needed,” says Dr. Bhattacharya.

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