MUMBAI: In a bid to stop sexual exploitation of children, a group of resident doctors today flagged-off a 'good touch-bad touch' campaign across the state to sensitise people.
"The spate of sexual assaults and rapes committed on 5 to 10 year-old girls has shaken us. That is why we have decided to launch this campaign, following our thumb rule that 'prevention is better than cure'," state Medical Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) chief Sagar Mundada said.
"We have started the 'good touch-bad touch' campaign from today and it will continue till the month-end. We plan to sensitise the kids between 5 and 10 years of age, who are most vulnerable to these problems...who know something about their private parts, but exactly don't know what is good and what's bad," Mundada, who is a psychiatrist, said.
The doctors would also counsel parents whose children are in the age bracket of 3-10 years.
"We would ask the parents to never allow a girl child to sit on anybody's lap, never undress and dress in front of others, and also to never force a child to go out with an adult with whom he or she is not comfortable," he said.
"If your child complains of anything, never take it lightly and go to the bottom of the story and show the child that you can stand up for them," Mundada said.
The need is to differentiate between the good and bad touch, he said.
Hugs and kisses by parents, grandparents, or a friendly brief kiss on forehead by family members, pat on the back by teacher saying "good job" or touch that does not make child nervous or uncomfortable are good touches, he said.
"However, kissing on mouth, touching private parts, touch by adult telling to keep secret, touch that makes child nervous, hurt or uncomfortable are bad touch," Mundada said.
Apart from displaying banners about the different kinds of touch at the entrance of government hospitals across the state, the doctors would counsel parents and their wards.
Referring the WHO's findings, he said that every three hours, one girl below 16 years of age is raped the country, and every 12 hours, one girl aged below 10 becomes victim of sexual assault.
About 40 per cent of country's children are susceptible to sexual abuse of some kind, and one in every 10 children suffers from severe sexual abuse.
What is noteworthy is that in 95 per cent of cases, the perpetrator is known to the child, he said.