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Everything you need to know about Child Sexual Abuse: Boys Edition

Let's not shy away from talking about sexual abuse in boys...

Child Sexual Abuse does not have a gender. It happens to boys just as much as it happens to girls. Either way, sexual abuse is NOT YOUR FAULT.  

While boys are just as likely to be sexually abused as girls, in our country, sexual violence against boys mostly goes under-recognised and under-reported which makes boys even more vulnerable!

Let’s look at what makes boys easy targets for sexual abuse –

  1. Boys are given more freedom than girls in most Indian families when it comes to going to public spaces and interacting with different kinds of people. This increases the chances of you being abused.

  2. Unlike girls, you boys are not always warned about sexual abuse. So you are not as guarded and careful.

  3. Our society puts the burden of living up to the ideals of masculinity on you boys. You are told things like – “Boys don’t cry.” “Don’t cry, are you a girl?” This can make you think twice before reporting sexual assault because you don’t want to look weak.

  4. Boys are often made to feel proud of early sexual activity, even if it is unwanted. The society attaches a sense of achievement and masculinity to early sexual interaction. This makes you treat sex like a game. All this can keep you from reporting sexual violence and makes you an easy target.

Here is what can stop you from reporting sexual abuse but should not –     

  1. It is understandable, there is some social stigma attached to Homosexuality in our country.  This can make you want to hide it from the world if you have been attacked sexually by a man. But it should not stop you from raising an alarm against sexual perpetuators.

  2. Boys in our country are made to believe that only girls need protection but boys are self-reliant. Well, that’s not true. It doesn’t matter if you are a girl or a boy. You deserve to be protected against sexual assault so make sure you speak up.

  3. Boys are also taught to keep their feelings to themselves and appear like they are always in control and can never be a victim. Don’t let this patriarchal norm stop you from being real and acknowledge what’s wrong and then report it.

“Remember, if you are sexually attacked by a man, it doesn’t necessarily mean you or the perpetrator is gay. Many a times, boys who are perceived as weak and vulnerable are likely to be targeted easily. It’s basically a power-game”, says our in-house Counsellor Kshitija Sawant.

Body protection commandments –

  1. Your body belongs to you, what you say stands.

  2. Talk about private body parts and sex with your parents. There is no shame in it.

  3. Some body parts are private and should remain that way.

  4. Know body boundaries – good and bad touch.

  5. It’s not okay to keep anybody related secret from your parents.

  6. No one can take pictures of your private parts.

  7. Never give in to scary and sexually uncomfortable situations and people who put you in such situations.

  8. Always raise an alarm when someone makes you sexually uncomfortable with their actions, words or behaviour. Talk to your parents.

  9. Put your trust in the right place. We suggest your parents.

  10. Empower yourself with information in the science class about sex and your body but also take precautions in real time.

If you are a victim of abuse and need to talk to an expert for help, you can leave a comment below or get in touch with the counsellor at expert@teentalkindia.com

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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NEXT STORY


DANCE TO HEAL

Natasha Agrawal’s initiative, Three Left Feet uses Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) to heal teenagers, among others, with trauma

The truth about our childhood is stored up in our body, 
and although we can repress it, we can never alter it. 
Our intellect can be deceived, our feelings manipulated, 
our perceptions confused, and our body tricked with medication. 
But someday the body will present its bill.

-          Letty J Mills and Judith C Daniluk, Journal of Counseling and Development


When Natasha Agrawal was sexually violated as a child, she was told to shrug off the incident like any other and carry on, normally. But for her “Normal” meant not respecting her body. “Normal” was feeling disconnected with her body, and thinking of it as something that had nothing to do with her – and was only meant for the use of others. The only time she felt connected to her own body was when she danced. “Dance, time and again, was the only joy I felt in the body,” recalls Natasha. But even that she felt was “more to show” than to “feel one with self”, until she discovered Dance Movement Therapy (DMT).  She learnt to move and dance for joy, which had nothing to do with her body as a sexual object.

“A whole new world opened up. Emotionally I felt lighter. This new language let me breathe in peace again,” reminisces the 34-year-old. It is a known fact that the mind and body are intertwined, and move in tandem. DMT uses this basic principle to “move” the mind towards a better, happier space. It could be any participant dancing on their own tune, not following any routine, which is imperative in a dance class. One another, more important aspect that differentiates DMT from a dance class is the intent. “The person is in the centre, and not the form,” adds Natasha.

Using her background in dance and movement, Natasha opened Three Left Feet, a space that aims to use dance as a therapeutic bridge to healing and relaxation. Her sessions would start with a warm up intended to give the participants the feeling of “I can”, moving to more therapeutic activities depending on the objective. If the objective is paired movement, then making groups of two and creating a river using a duppata helps connecting with others. On the other hand, if she is working with a group of children who have been abused in the past, and the focus of the session is to deal with trauma, an activity to say “no” would help. 

Here is how it is done:
•         Imagine your fingers can spout colours in all directions. Using the power of your fingers, create a colourful bubble around you.
•         This is your shield, your aura.
•         As you move around the area and meet different people, you have the power to allow them into your space or not.
•         If you feel that you do not want to talk to someone, hold out your hand, meaning no.
•         It is important to remember that the bubble is your safe space and you have control over it


“I learnt the power of no. I embodied my body, owned it and loved it again,” she says. She now holds sessions for senior citizens, differently abled and rehabilitated children of sex workers and off course, teenagers. In her journey of DMT, she has helped many. One of them is Keisha, who works at All India Radio, "When I first met Natasha at her residence for a DMT session, I instantly felt comfortable with her warm aura." She further recalls that the sessions helped her become aware about her feelings and thoughts, which is important to create a bond with the self. Keisha was so impressed with Natasha's approach that she enrolled at the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), which offers a one year diploma in DMT.

You can get in touch with her on: threeleftfeet.natasha@gmail.com

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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Disclaimer: TeentalkIndia does not offer emergency services and is not a crisis intervention centre, if you or someone you know is experiencing acute distress or is suicidal/self harming, please contact the nearest hospital or emergency/crisis management services or helplines.