Monday, December 4, 2023

Activist banks on safety initiative against child abuse in Meghalaya


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SHILLONG: “Come sit on my lap”, said her uncle. But she was uncomfortable. Years passed by with memories deeply suppressed, until one day the adult realised that what had happened to her as a child was sexual abuse. This is just one such case.
These are the excerpts of an online petition which has been started in the state to implement the Personal Safety Education Program in all government schools of the state With child sexual abuse on the rise in Meghalaya, the online petition to implement the Personal Safety Education Programme in all government schools of the state has gained a lot of momentum.
The online petition to Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui, which was started last year by Shannon Massar, has, so far, received 24,945 signatures on the website
Speaking to The Shillong Times, Massar said she works for an NGO which is conducting the Personal Safety Education Program with school children in Ri Bhoi and Shillong.
Stating that cases of child sexual abuse are on the rise in the state, she said the Personal Safety Education Programme would be the best prevention, adding that kids need to know safe and unsafe touches besides body safety. Massar is optimistic that the two decision makers would respond to the petition.
In her petition, she also said that the state witnessed a large number of crimes against children in the year 2018 with 238 cases registered under the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act, 2012 and IPC sections 376, 354 and 509.
“Our children are suffering silently. It is the duty of every person and authority in Meghalaya to ensure this doesn’t continue. We need to prevent it from happening. Schools seem like the best place to start conversations. I would like to appeal to the chief minister to take action immediately,” her petition read.

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