Recognizing, Preventing, Reporting Child Abuse: A look at some compelling PSAs
Child abuse takes on myriad forms. Not limited to physical and sexual violence, it also includes emotional abuse, neglect and exploitation. Children are abused at home, by people in their neighborhoods, at school, and in institutions. Many are victimized a second time by a criminal justice system that often does not want to hear or believe their accounts and rarely take serious action against perpetrators. A 2007 GOI survey, based on interviews with 12,500 children in 13 different states, reported serious and widespread abuse. Smaller surveys by NGOs have also corroborated this.
Clearly, child abuse is not a remote phenomenon. It happens every day, in every way, to a majority of children by people they trust.
To increase awareness and urge bystander involvement Leher lists some compelling Public Service Announcements (PSAs) from around the globe that aim to educate and eradicate child abuse one community at a time. Some PSAs create a real-life experience for the viewer, showing just how destructive abuse can be for a child. Others are geared towards educating us on how rampant abuse is and how we can police it. Still others target a culture of silence that even well-meaning parents are responsible for, inadvertently allowing abuse to thrive.
Watch the campaigns; share them on social media, because abuse is not a remote phenomenon. It is near us, and it is universal.
Meet Sweetie – a 3-D computer-generated child who lures sexual predators in chat rooms only to compile enough identifying information on them to report them to the Interpol. Sweetie was created in a sting operation by a Dutch children’s charity, Terre des Hommes , as an innovative approach to policing sex tourists. With the advent of high speed internet, sex tourists do not even need to leave their homes to prey on children. This sting operation exposes the flaws in enforcing child protection laws in the cyber realm. Furthermore, by going viral, this video educates the public on cyber sexual abuse and implores politicians to pass stricter enforcement laws.
The Enough campaign is a grassroots movement that began in Massachusetts and has spread its roots in several states across the United States. This video uses a powerful instrumental song along with a visual script for spreading awareness on child sexual abuse. It targets how rampant child abuse is, how we can detect it and ways in which the whole community is complicit in bearing responsibility for children in distress.
This PSA, created by PEACE of Mind, rejects the culture of silence that often shrouds survivors of sexual assault. It individualizes survivors and destroys the myth of ‘stranger danger’: after all, a large percentage of abuse is perpetrated by someone known by the survivor.
Children are known for saying silly things. But what if that ‘silly thing,’ a child you know said turns out to be a real issue?
This clever animation tells us a stolen fairytale: the tale of sexual abuse and a loss of innocence as experience by a child. Not only is the allegory palatable to all age groups, but it also shines a light on how abuse is experienced for the child by inverting the innocence of a conventional fairytale.
This silent film succinctly conveys a vicious cycle: an abused child is likely to become an abuser, so we need to stop abuse at its root.
This UNICEF campaign gone viral, uses celebrities in various countries to depict a key message: abuse is often invisible and tolerated in silence, but it is our job as responsible community members to make the issue visible. Watch Amitabh Bachchan, a UNICEF ambassador, reach out to an Indian audience.