KARACHI: Pakistan Ministry of Human Rights launched on Tuesday an awareness campaign to educate children about sexual abuse. The ministry has released a series of public service announcement (PSA) videos, which have also been shared across social media platforms with the hashtag #ChoonaManaHay.
One of the PSAs shows a man luring a young boy who is sitting on a bench, waiting for his turn to bat. The man is shown touching the boy excessively, brushing against his arms and thighs. But soon we see the boy calling his friends for help, who come to his rescue and scream, “Khabardaar! Choona mana hay! (Beware! Don’t touch!)”
The PSA addresses how sexual abuse usually happens out in the open. It encourages children to not be scared and speak up when they experience a “bad touch”. A well-made PSA, it shows what a bad touch looks like.
In another PSA, the message encourages onlookers to intervene when they spot a child visibly in distress, protesting against the adult they are with. This video places responsibility on adults who often turn a blind eye to such crimes even when they know something strange is happening in their vicinity.
A more in-depth explanatory video breaks down what sexual abuse may look or feel like with the help of effective animation. It gives children a much-needed lesson that not all adults can be trusted. The video lists examples of people who are most most likely to exhibit “good touch” and how do they do that, for example, shaking hands with friends or a parent helping the child stay clean. On the other hand, it gives examples of gestures predators make. More importantly, the PSA heavily emphasises on consent and tells children to trust their gut instinct; if the touch “felt” wrong, it was, and they should not second-guess themselves.
The PSA further guides children to confide in their parents or any trusted adult immediately if they are currently experiencing a “bad touch”.
The fourth animation shows a common, yet a very important example, where someone who seems like a trusted family friend tries to sweet-talk an adolescent girl. The man calls her beti, and tells her he has come to her school to pick her up. Perhaps, the best part of this video is that when the mother finds out about what this man had done, she confronts him and tells him to back off.
These PSAs are made of compelling visual storytelling and are definitely a need of the hour in Pakistan, where according to research, more than 12 children are abused every day.