This is a topic that is often found very intimidating to talk about openly, however, its knowledge is very important. Children are taught some basic values at a very young age and the difference between a good and a bad touch is one of them.
Although this topic is considered apt to educate only young children, we often fail to realize that both children and adolescents will reap the benefits of the awareness brought about by making them understand the basic concepts of the types of ‘touch’. After all, this theme is very strongly connected to child abuse and the more openly we talk about it, the better it will be for the security of children. Thus, the awareness of the difference between a good and bad touch is very crucial and can prove to be very useful in today’s world.
Let us begin with the very basics – What is a good and bad touch and how are the two different?
Well, a good touch is a safe touch. It makes one feel comfortable and cared for. For example, when your parents hug and kiss you or a relative hugs a child, and the child happily accepts; a child sitting on a parent’s lap while they read a story together; a stranger gently caring for a child’s injury, and talking to the child, even though the child is upset and it hurts; children playing together is a bit rough but not dangerous and they’re both having fun. All these are considered a good touch, as it makes one feel happy.
However, a bad touch is essentially one that makes you feel uncomfortable, nervous or frightened. We need to understand that we have complete right over our own body and can decide whether or not we are comfortable with something. Someone can only touch you if you agree to be being touched and approve of it.
No one can touch you without your consent. Sometimes, we may get stuck in situations where we do not know whom to share an experience or problem with. At such times, we must realize that we can always confide in someone we truly trust; for example, our parents are often the best and most reliable people to share our feelings with. Hiding something will only make it worse and may make you feel isolated or scared.
A bad touch may also lead to child sexual abuse and so we must make as many people aware of this topic as possible. This world is filled with terrible people who like to take advantage of children’s innocence.
To conclude, I would like to say that though we can neither change this world nor improve the mental hygiene of the people living in it, what we can do is take precautions so that we and the people around us do not have to experience any mishap.
We are actually helping reduce the rates of child abuse in our country by simply making this topic known to all. Parents must talk to their children about this at a very young age. The depth of information imparted by them can depend on the child’s age. It is also the responsibility of parents to keep a close watch on any drastic behavioural changes in a child. For example, if a generally talkative child, all of a sudden goes quiet or if a child hesitates or retaliates in visiting a certain place or meeting a particular person. Most of the times children get so frightened that they cannot freely describe their trauma. Hence, it is the duty of a parent to look for passive signals and take their child into confidence and listen to them. If parents find it difficult to deal with the situation, they can seek professional help from counsellors. There should be awareness campaigns in schools and teachers should help students, if any such need arises. Even the adults should be alert and aware while walking or driving on roads and if they witness any suspicious incident, they should intervene, try to help and inform the authorities right away.
So, stop feeling shy and uncomfortable about something that has become a part of our world now. As responsible citizens, it becomes our moral obligation to discuss this topic freely and spread awareness in order to make this world a better and safer place for all of us.