In a world the place little one abuse is alarmingly prevalent, mother and father should be speaking to their youngsters about bodily autonomy – and solely after we speak about it, can we assist to create a extra intuitive understanding of consent for the little ones.
Mera Jism Mera Hai written by Ashhad Ahmed Qureshi is an illustrated youngsters’s e book collection that rigorously debunks the myths and misconceptions round sexual abuse and offers free authorized and psychological well being assets for youngsters and their guardians.
Partaking and culturally delicate, the e book masterfully offers a much-needed wholesome perspective on find out how to recognise and determine abuse and provide assist to minor survivors who’re unable to disclose their discomfort on account of worry and confusion surrounding the subject.
“As a child, I was sexually abused for years by someone in my extended family. I remember how confused and helpless I had felt,” shared Ashhad, as he defined why he felt compelled to write down this e book.
“I had so badly wished to do one thing about it however I didn’t know what and I didn’t know the way.”
Additionally learn: Mother and father, here is why your youngsters aren’t too younger to study sexual abuse
“But my story is just one of countless others. I was privileged that when I was able to finally disclose to my parents, I was able to get the support I needed to heal but I know many others are not so lucky. This is why I wrote this book —it is a book I wish I had had growing up.”
Begin having these conversations once they’re younger
Since assets of such nature are taboo and never extensively obtainable, the writer selected to write down it in Urdu, hoping that its attain and wish as a curriculum requirement in academic institutes will help foster translations of the e book in regional languages too.
Written in easy language – the e book fashions conversations in an acceptable method, educating youngsters about their physique and who’s allowed to the touch them. Vibrant illustrations by Aziza Ahmad additional make the method of understanding seamless.
Nonetheless, given the sensitivity and prevalence of the problem in our society, compiling the e book was an arduous course of, as Ashhad describes.
“Most of what I read on existing literature during my research was not suitable for a Pakistani context. Not even the language could be translated to Urdu easily. We don’t really have words in Urdu for personal space, body boundaries, and so on, at least not for everyday use. You can translate them for sure, but it would not carry the same meaning. I had to really think about how to convey the same concept but in a way that would be understood by everyone,” stated Qureshi.
This can be one cause why addressing youngsters who’re studying the e book, is finished in a tone that’s each explanatory, but cautious and compassionate.
“I led a workshop with the program manager for mental health at Indus Health Network, where we put each word of the book under scrutiny. Is it simple to understand? Is it culturally appropriate? Is it respectful of people’s beliefs? Are there better ways of conveying the same concept?”
“After making all the necessary changes, we finally sent the manuscript to underserved areas in Karachi, where the community members (who would hopefully read this to their children in the future) provided their feedback and we made necessary changes,” added the writer.
The e book additionally offers an exercise part the place youngsters can determine the members of the family they’ll belief and speak in confidence to. An analogous information can also be obtainable for fogeys the place they’ll recognise modifications of their youngsters’s behaviours and know one thing is troubling them accordingly.
Particularly, the e book goals to make clear two misconceptions round bodily autonomy within the context of Pakistan. First, that perpetrators are distant strangers that solely prey on immoral people. Second, that individuals who come out with their tales do it for consideration and deserve the blame.
“In more than 80% of the cases, the perpetrators are known to the victims, usually family members or acquaintances,” says Qureshi.
“The truth is that this issue is so heavily stigmatised that those who do speak up are speaking truth to power. They often risk losing everything, sometimes even their own lives (honour killings), so we, as a society, really need to think critically about what it must take for someone to disclose their experiences.”
Thus, it encourages survivors to talk up about their experiences, and be vocal about it with out internalising the disgrace.
Decided and emotionally evocative, the e book is healthful and its title, highly effective.
“For so many of us in Pakistan’s collectivist society, our freedom and autonomy is stripped from us and chained to the approval of other, usually male, members of the family. I want the title of the book to be a fitting reminder to all of us that decisions around our bodily autonomy, respect, and dignity are ours to make, now and forever,” says Ashhad.
“At the end of the day, the most important things that I hope readers, namely survivors, will take away from the book are that their experiences are real and should be believed, their ways of coping with them are valid, it was never their fault, and that they will always be deserving of love and support.”
Priced at Rs275, you should buy a tough copy of the e book right here.