Satyamev Jayate on CSA

CSA Awareness, as anyone who knows me would know, is a topic I hold close to my heart, having worked on two awareness months on this issue, and having researched possibly every aspect of the topic for the twitter updates and the posts, and handled the expert chats and read through all the blog posts that came up on the CSA months both in 2011 and 2012.
Ergo, it was with much interest that I received the news that CSA was going to be the topic under discussion on this Sunday’s episode of Satyamev Jayate, the new talk show by Aamir Khan which is a brave attempt at holding up a mirror to the ugly side of us as a society. Their first topic covered was female foeticide, and I believe, though I didn’t get the opportunity to watch that, being enroute from Pune to Mumbai at the time it was aired, that there was not a dry eye in the house during that show as well.
This episode of Satyamev Jayate had three people on their panel who were part of our CSA Awareness Month this year, Cindrella Prakash, Harrish Iyer, both CSA Survivors and awareness activists and Anuja Gupta, founder of RAHI an organisation that works with incest victims.
I watched the show with the strange sensation of deja vu. All that we covered in the entire month of CSA awareness was covered in this one hour show. And with Aamir Khan lending his star power to the effort, it reached out to millions in a manner that we couldn’t even begin to dream about. That was what made the show fantastic, it handled the topic sensitively, there were the emotional moments, but they were not allowed to detract from the topic and it was informative, yet did not sensationalise the topic.

I did have a few bones to pick though. The majority of CSA is not some strange pedophile in the park or in a dark corner preying on your child. It is right at home. With people the child knows and trusts. An older brother. An uncle. A cousin. And sometimes even a father. This needed to be discussed. That a parent can also commit CSA. The parents needed to be given tips on how to spot signs of CSA. Behaviour changes. Physical signs. The pointer given by the expert on when one should be wary of a potential pedophile was very relevant but very often some person might just be fond of kids, and might not necessarily be interested in the child sexually. And lastly, while I appreciate the contrast between danger and safe that Aamir tried to bring out in his workshop for children to advise them about what to do in the event of CSA, I took umbrage at the word ‘Danger’ used for parts of the body, as kindly brought to my attention by Chandni Parekh, child and adolescent sexuality expert. We don’t want kids to start thinking their body parts are ‘danger’. We want them to think of those parts as ‘private’ and not accessible to anyone. We want them to develop a strong sense of personal space and strong self esteem that allows them to stop blindly obeying an adult when they know that something is not quite right.

Having got those little niggles out of the way, I must give credit where credit is due and say that this is the kind of show we need. Hardhitting. Uncomfortable. Provoking discussion and hopefully awareness and change. And hope the discussion provoked is sustained. That we realise, as a nation, that CSA is everywhere, and we need to talk about it and watch out for our kids. Not just be blind to it, thinking it happens to other people, and other people’s kids not ours.

I’ll end with something I read while researching tweets for the CSA month this year, which has stuck in my head. “The biggest self defence you can give your child against CSA is by educating him or her about it, and giving your child the courage and self confidence to know that he or she is loved and not needy to be vulnerable to approval and affection from a predator.”

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About Kiran Manral

Author of The Face At The Window, ( 2016), Karmic Kids, All Aboard (2015) , Once Upon A Crush (2014) and The Reluctant Detective (2011).
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12 Responses to Satyamev Jayate on CSA

  1. Nish says:

    Loved his show and love your posts also…one quibble though. I don’t like your shorting the term child sexual abuse to CSA.

    1. It does not capture the horror of what child sexual abuse is.
    2. If people are googling for the term CSA, it points to a whole lot of things, but not sexual abuse.

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  2. Sig says:

    I’m currently finally watching the first one online and I have to keep stopping because of the tears. It’s horrifying and my heart breaks over and over again. I applaud the show for bringing these topics to light and really hope with all my heart that it does something.

    Here’s the link for the shows if you want to watch online:

    http://www.apnicommunity.com/satyamev-jayate/652781-satyamev-jayate-6th-may-2012-video-update-watch-online*hd*.html

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  3. Smitha says:

    Agree entirely with all your points. While the show was great in bringing this important yet ignored issue into our living rooms, the points you have raised certainly could have been brought up. Infact I was telling my husband that it was a pity that the CSA month initiative by you guys, was not mentioned. So many important aspects were covered in the last two years. I m sure many people would have been interested in reading and understanding more about how to keep our children safe esp after seeing the show.

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  4. shachi18 says:

    Just watched the episode…I would love if the next show brings few of the victims who have been convicted for discussion.

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  5. R's Mom says:

    Yep I agree to Smitha…I was just thinking looking at the TV wondering if AK would bring up the lovely initiative which you guys took up for CSA……

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  6. RS says:

    I saw the episode yesterday and was looking forward for your take on it.
    What I disliked about the show was
    1. As you mentioned not much stress was given to the part where the parent could be the abuser. In the beginning AK did give some statistics about the myth that children are safest at home.
    2. Not much emphasis was given to the point that in most cases the children feel guilty and hence do not come out in the open about the abuse.
    3. Victim blaming – that was not dealt with at all.
    Also, did not like the point about calling parts of our body danger.. private should have been fine.

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  7. Khan Mukhtar says:

    Indeed great efforts by great personality and we must all ape it to make the life of special persons a beautiful one.

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  8. BEV says:

    I agree with you on the incest point – when Anuja from Rahi spoke about the grandfather, I thought they could have dwelt on the much higher probability of the person being a family member, though all the cases did involev family members/ close family friends. Also, the signs pointed out by the child psychologist were general, and the one about ‘if anyone seems particularly friendly with children’ was too general – there are many ppl genuinely fond of children and not only paedophiles.

    But otherwise, I thought the show was hardhitting and brought the topic out into the open, which is much needed. And Harish’s mom saying that I wish I had stood by my child – hope that one hits home to everyone who goes around worrying about what other people may think.

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  9. Agree with you, exactly my thoughts, infact after the last episode I had expected this one to be better researched, but I guess it is still a beginning. Atleast one blogger, Bikram wrote about his experience with CSA – after watching the show – I hope this is only a beginning and we see the abusers feeling ashamed finally, instead of the victims.

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  10. Pingback: An email: Satyamev Jayate touched a deep wound. After almost 30 years I broke the silence. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  11. csa victim says:

    Having been a victim of CSA, this episode moved me and brought back all those nightmares back to me.. Till now no one in my family knows what I have been through during my childhood, nor do I have the courage to tell them. I just wish and pray that no child falls a prey to this ever. It scars you for lifetime and difficult to take it out of your head…

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