All posts by Haseeb Sadiq

The Do’s & Don’t’s Of Talking To Your Child About Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH)

The Do’s & Don’t’s Of Talking To Your Child About Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH)

2020-06-08

The Do’s & Don’t’s Of Talking To Your Child About Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH)
 
Growing up in a society that approaches SRH-education with a “hush hush” attitude, it’s easy to brush the conversation under the rug and never acknowledge it. We assume that our children will grow-up and just know.

However, children always discover this information, through peers or the internet, and often, it is incorrect. Parents need to guide the conversation, before a child becomes misinformed and confused.

To start with, we have compiled a list of Do’s & Don’t’s for parents and guardians when teaching a child of any age about SRH:

DO approach the topic early. SRH-education can begin during infancy, by teaching something simple like correct anatomical terms for genitals. Treating SRH as “the big talk” and giving your child too much information at once, will overwhelm them. Start small and slowly incorporate appropriate information each year. This sets the groundwork for detailed conversations later on and breaks any ‘awkward’ barriers to help you both become comfortable with sharing. However, it’s never too late to have a chat with your teen about SRH – making an effort to approach the topic mindfully will go a long way.

DON’T wing it. Understand the developmental changes your child will experience. Chances are SRH-education was skimmed over in your high school class as well, if at all. Therefore, brush up on topics such as puberty and reproduction, to prepare you to answer your child’s questions and fulfill their needs. An unprepared and panicked response may confuse your child.

DO acknowledge where you’re lacking. Whether it is with regards to how quiet you have been on the topic or how much you know about the specific question your child is asking you – gently state that you plan on researching and addressing the question at hand. This sets the scene for conversations in the future; allows for opportunities of researching together, and reiterates the open communication between you.

DON’T jump to conclusions and interrogate. If your child asks “what is reproduction?”, ask them to clarify what they already know or have heard. Once you know where your child’s current understanding and curiosity is coming from, you can respond appropriately. That said, asking too many who/what/why/where questions may result in your child feeling threatened and cutting the conversation short. Listen more than you talk. Don’t lecture.

DO keep it short, simple and honest. ‘The talk’ isn’t the same for every child. Cater to your child’s current needs, comprehension and age. Keep the terms simple and explain any new words. Stick to what your child is asking you – don’t overshare. Remain factual and honest.

DON’T outright refuse to answer something. This will only further your child’s curiosity, and encourage them to seek answers elsewhere. If you feel your child may not yet be able to understand certain information, give minimal details and say that you’ll share more later. Outright refusal can be perceived as disapproval, unintentionally associating negativity and shame with SRH in your child’s mind.

DO be prepared for your child’s reaction to the information. Your child may walk away and make it seem as though they are avoiding having this conversation with you. Let them be. They will need time to process the information. Let them express their thoughts openly. Re-visit the conversation some time later – ask them how they feel or if they have any new questions. Be sure to reassure them that they can approach you again in the future should the need arise.

DON’T scold your child. Punishment will lead your child to believe they’re doing something wrong by asking you. They may be less likely to open up to you in the future. Maintain a level of calm, letting your child know that if they ever want to confide in you, they will be loved and supported instead of reprimanded and labelled a ‘disappointment’.

DO acknowledge your child’s feelings. Understanding that your child may have romantic attachments, particularly when they are a teenager, is crucial to maintaining communication. Disregarding their emotions as “young and foolish” and talking down to them will only make it less likely that your message is taken seriously.

DO acknowledge that it is natural and normal – not ‘scary’ and ‘bad’. A lot of conversations regarding SRH-Ed focus on all the “don’t’s”, framing reproduction as something that is “forbidden” and its consequences as “deserved punishments”. Our conversations around this topic are usually very heavy on the associated emotional and religious aspects. This cloud of “shame” around reproduction, makes children more curious and secretive about it. Keep emotions to a minimum – focus on the facts.

DON’T think having the ‘SRH talk’ means you’re giving your child permission. A lot of people assume that by exposing their children to the topic of SRH health at a young age they will “corrupt” them. However, that is not the case at all. Children are surrounded by highly sensualized media in their daily lives, without any additional context on how to process this information. Layering SRH-education in day-to-day conversations, works to educate your child in a way that they are able to understand and safely navigate the topic. This provides great opportunity for conversations about how, why and when to practice abstinence.

DO be kind to yourself. If your child is opening up to you, take that as a victory in itself. You’ve done a great job to be able to get to this point. If you still struggle with the topic, take a moment to breathe and clarify the situation to yourself. These conversations are to be small, continuing on over many years. If you or your child aren’t yet comfortable with the discussion, give it some time and re-visit it later.

5 Ways to Ease Period Cramps

5 Ways to Ease Period Cramps

2020-02-25

Introduction:

Period cramps are a recurrent lower abdominal pain, that can occur a few days before and during your period. The pain can range from mild to severe – especially during the first few days of your period – and at times, be quite debilitating.

The pain is usually dull and can be felt above the pelvic bone, around the lower back and mid-thighs. In some cases, the pain is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea or constipation and headaches.

It is often advisable to go see a doctor if the pain becomes more severe with each menstrual cycle, as at times, the pain can be due to other underlying issues.

So I googled this, and came across the term ‘dysmenorrhea’?

Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for period cramps. When the pain is only during your period, it is primary dysmenorrhea. When the pain is due to an underlying issue, such as endometriosis, PCOS, or fibroids, it is referred to as secondary dysmenorrhea.

If you have severe cramps, lasting for more than a couple days, and suspect that there may be an underlying issue – go see your doctor. They’ll ask you about your symptoms, menstrual history and possibly perform a pelvic exam. Some additional tests may be done if it is suspected that your cramps aren’t just related to your period.

But what actually causes these cramps?

During your period, your uterus is shedding it’s lining and contracting to help push the period blood out. Prostaglandins are chemicals that are formed, to help your uterus contract. These uterine muscle contractions can decrease blood flow and oxygen to the uterus, causing pain. The prostaglandins also contribute to the nausea and diarrhea some experience.

Cramps are highly common, especially amongst adolescents. They typically start within the first few years of starting your period, and often, decrease in severity with age.

Ok, so what can I do to feel better?

  • Pharmacological:

    – The most commonly used method is to take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen or panadol. Stronger, period-specific pain medications are also available. Always follow the instructions written on the bottle and in the case of any medicine-allergies, speak with your doctor first.
    – Some doctors may prescribe hormonal birth control pills that help to reduce pain while also regulating your period.

  • Use heat:

    – During the first couple hours of cramps, applying low-level heat has been shown to reduce pain significantly better than medications. Most use both methods of heat and medication to get quick relief. Heat can be applied by purchasing heat pads, a hot water bottle, or heat wrap. Follow the instructions on the packets carefully. Take caution to not to fall asleep with these on, as some can cause burns.
    – If you don’t have these items at home, try taking a hot shower, using a warm towel or ironing a piece of cloth and wrapping it around your lower back

  • Get moving:

    – Although the idea of squats, lunges and sprints while on your period may not sound particularly relaxing – studies have shown that even light exercise can help combat period cramps
    – Choose an exercise that you enjoy and helps you feel good. This can include anything from walking, running, swimming or more
    – Exercises that engage the core can be particularly helpful
    – Slow movements that involve deep breathing, such as in yoga, can also be alleviating
    – If you go to a gym or studio, ask a certified instructor for some tips!

  • Just take a step back, and relax:

    – Quality of sleep has been shown to effect the severity of cramps. Take this time to improve your sleeping habits or maybe just take a quick nap to help you feel more refreshed
    – Engage in a calming activity that helps you feel good, whether its listening to music, reading a book, watching a movie or hanging out with a friend. Don’t over-exert yourself!
    – A good massage is not only relaxing, but can also increase blood flow and therefore help against cramps. Applying some pressure, in a circular motion to the base of your thumb and big toe are some acupressure points that can help with cramps as well
    – Sitting back and sipping on some tea may be just what you need! Try chamomile, cinnamon or ginger!

  • Orgasm:

    – Whether it’s by yourself or with your partner – orgasms allow the uterus to relax and increase blood flow, automatically helping with cramps!

    In short…
    Cramps are a natural, albeit painful part of the menstruation process. Though uncomfortable, periods are not a ‘curse’ – far from it! They are NOTHING to be ashamed of.

    Talking about your period with trusted friends, can help in dispelling any negative thoughts and help you become more comfortable in your body.

    With the right tools, you can ease your cramps and make your period more pleasant. It’s all about finding what works for you!

    The Best Period Tracking Apps

FLO Period & Ovulation Tracker

FLO is marketed as the No. 1 Women’s Health App – a ‘true fertility friend’. The app includes a period tracker, ovulation and fertility calendar, as well as a pregnancy-specific mode. All you have to do is record your symptoms and the app does the rest by converting your information into super useful and easy-to-read graphs helping you to better understand your body. This app is especially handy for those with irregular cycles – the more you log in, the more accurate the app’s predictions! The app also does a neat job of sending relevant daily health insights and articles tailored specifically for you and your cycle. It’s the perfect app for taking full control of your health!

https://flo.health

CLUE Period Tracker

Rated as one of the top free period tracker apps by the Obstetrics & Gynecology Journal, CLUE is here for all your menstrual health needs. In addition to the usual period and ovulation calendars, the app offers menstrual flow, products, fluid (discharge) and pain trackers as well. The more information you log in, the more accurate your reminders for your next period and PMS. The app also keeps tabs on your fertility and sex habits, as well as helping you set birth control pill reminders. Still not sure about what’s going on with your body? Head over to the app’s website for all your menstrual and sexual health related questions!

https://helloclue.com

EVE by Glow

Want to own your cycle? Want to feel good in bed? Then EVE is the app for you! Marketed as an app to track your period and sex life, Eve covers all the bases with its sex, health and period logs. Your information is presented in eye-catching charts and a daily ‘cyclescope’ – a forecast of where you are in your cycle and the symptoms you may be experiencing. The app also offers some serious in-app support, with a community of users that you can chat with about your period and sex-related health – ‘no topic is off limits’! An added bonus are some sexy quizzes, sexplanations and articles – offering you the information you need to understand your cycle and body in a whole new way.

https://glowing.com/eve

The Best Period Tracking Apps

The Best Period Tracking Apps

2019-05-17

Period Pic
 

FLO Period & Ovulation Tracker

FLO is marketed as the No. 1 Women’s Health App – a ‘true fertility friend’. The app includes a period tracker, ovulation and fertility calendar, as well as a pregnancy-specific mode. All you have to do is record your symptoms and the app does the rest by converting your information into super useful and easy-to-read graphs helping you to better understand your body. This app is especially handy for those with irregular cycles – the more you log in, the more accurate the app’s predictions! The app also does a neat job of sending relevant daily health insights and articles tailored specifically for you and your cycle. It’s the perfect app for taking full control of your health!
https://flo.health

CLUE Period Tracker

Rated as one of the top free period tracker apps by the Obstetrics & Gynecology Journal, CLUE is here for all your menstrual health needs. In addition to the usual period and ovulation calendars, the app offers menstrual flow, products, fluid (discharge) and pain trackers as well. The more information you log in, the more accurate your reminders for your next period and PMS. The app also keeps tabs on your fertility and sex habits, as well as helping you set birth control pill reminders. Still not sure about what’s going on with your body? Head over to the app’s website for all your menstrual and sexual health related questions!
https://helloclue.com

EVE by Glow

Want to own your cycle? Want to feel good in bed? Then EVE is the app for you! Marketed as an app to track your period and sex life, Eve covers all the bases with its sex, health and period logs. Your information is presented in eye-catching charts and a daily ‘cyclescope’ – a forecast of where you are in your cycle and the symptoms you may be experiencing. The app also offers some serious in-app support, with a community of users that you can chat with about your period and sex-related health – ‘no topic is off limits’! An added bonus are some sexy quizzes, sexplanations and articles – offering you the information you need to understand your cycle and body in a whole new way.
https://glowing.com/eve

It Happens – Get Over It!

It Happens – Get Over It!

2018-09-17

 

Why treat sanitary pads like radioactive isotopes, asks Twinkle Khanna

You know that moment when you walk into a store to buy your pads and the shopkeeper awkwardly shoves it into a brown paper bag to hide it from the world, as if he has the right to be ashamed for you. Or the time in Ramadan, when you’re not fasting and it must be kept quiet, ‘chhupa kar rakhna’ – even though it’s not your choice. Even the moments where you discuss your period only amongst women, or when you’re stopped from going into the kitchen and told ‘achaar mat kholna’. You’re made to feel dirty, when really, you’re healthy.

Women across the country suffer as a result of this stigma and are all feeling it too. But that is all it is – a stigma. It is not the reality of menstruation. The shame associated with talking about periods needs to end. Every day we hear health complaints, this hurts or that is broken but the monthly cramps that many women go through can’t be discussed. Furthermore, pregnancy and childbirth are topics of many people’s concern, yet periods, which play a primary role in the process of reproduction, are considered a taboo.

The word ‘period’ can’t be said on TV, school textbooks discussing reproduction are taped shut, even mothers often fail to be open with their daughters regarding the reality of their bodies. If we, as the youth, begin to break these social barriers, we can ensure a future generation that understand their bodies and are not afraid to talk about the simple notion of periods. Period.

Personal Experience

Growing up in an all-girl school, being raised by female teachers who were too conservative to talk about periods, my first period took me by surprise. It was during school hours that I was first terrorised by the blood that stained my underwear. I turned to the women that I expected to take care of me and was brushed off and ignored when I needed them the most. I was made to stand in class, as their main concern was the maintenance of their furniture rather than a young girl’s distress. Several of my friends experienced the same thing as I did, and we were left to our own devices; made to, unaided, figure out the one thing we didn’t understand.

It’s Like Breathing

It’s Like Breathing

2018-08-06

Just cause you’re bleeding, doesn’t mean you’re dying!

“Ew… and then oxygen exits your body? Gross.”

Imagine if we talked about breathing the way we talk about menstruating. Imagine if a completely necessary and natural, biological process was made to sound disgusting for no apparent reason.

Yes, girls bleed. It’s part of life. Specifically, part of puberty, one of the most important changes a person goes through during their lifetime– and it’s completely normal! It usually starts between the ages of 10-17.

What’s important is for people not to be alarmed, it is a sign of good health and maturity, all things positive! Menstruation takes place when when the brain sends out signals for the release of hormones into the body. These hormones make your eggs mature and grow larger. While this happens, the hormone levels decrease, and the lining of your uterus begins to break down, which is released from the body in the form of blood. In simple terms, a cycle begins in your body which causes you to bleed, and this keeps you fertile.

Nevertheless, it can be scary. In order for young girls to be prepared, they can predict when their cycle will begin by consulting other women in their family; women within the same family tend to begin their period around the same age. Other signs that suggest the period approaching are the development of breast tissue and growth of pubic hair. All of these changes are normal and part of teenagehood.

Don’t hesitate to talk to your mother and women around you, as it is the first step to understanding and getting to know your period and body. It’s not just you, it’s almost every girl you’ll meet.

Personal experience

Just cause you’re bleeding, doesn’t mean you’re dying!

I first got my period back in the 60s. Uss zamane mein, no one told me anything about periods. Mein choti si thi, only 12 years old. I went to the bathroom and  saw that I was bleeding, my first thought: I was dying. Mein marne waali thi. I decided that it was better not to bother anyone, just wait it out. Eventually, 5 days passed, phir 6 days, 7. Lekin mein zinda rahin. Finally, Ammi asked me what was happening with me. I confessed my secret, hoping she wouldn’t cry. In the end, it was my period. Sab teekh tha

Girl Talk: What to Expect During Puberty

Girl Talk: What to Expect During Puberty

2017-12-27

 

Puberty can really be one of the toughest parts of growing up. Did you know that during puberty your body will grow faster than any other time in your life except when you were a baby? Yes! During puberty the body grows at a rate only slightly slower than a newborn’s first year of life but for some people it may feel like its taking forever.

During this awkward time there are some major changes happening in your body and brain. Relax. The only way to really know what to expect is to read up on it. Here are some physiological changes that every girl should know:

You may sweat more and feel your skin get oilier:

During puberty you may experience oily skin and sweat more than usual. This is because puberty brings maturation of the sweat and oil glands in the skin. As hormones level increase so does the oil production increases in your glands. This oil or sebum then mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria and clogs pores that results in whitehead, blackheads or pimples. This is probably the least fun part of puberty, but the good news is that it will probably eventually go away.

Your weight will increase:

It is normal to put on around 15 or more pounds during this period of development. The body starts producing more fat so that you can develop fuller breasts, hips and thighs. These changes give body the shape of an adult woman. Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly may help you stay fit.

You will have soft hair growing in your armpits and pubic area:

At least one year before a girl gets her period, soft hair starts to grow in the pubic area (the area between your legs) and armpits. At first the hair might be scattered and light in colour but as your body continues to change, it is normal for it to start getting darker, thicker and longer. If the hair really bothers you, find a good waxing walli or a good razor with which you can shave.

Development of Breasts:

As your body develops you will start to take on the shape of an adult woman. In most girls, this development starts with breast growth. It also means that you might need to start wearing a training bra from now on. In my case, everybody else started wearing a training bra years before I had to. I felt there was something wrong with me and that my body would never change! But the truth is that the onset of puberty occurs at different ages depending on the individual’s rate of growth and development, so every experience is unique.

It Is Possible To Heal From Sexual Abuse!

It Is Possible To Heal From Sexual Abuse!

2017-12-07

 

Sexual abuse is a kind of trauma which can cause significant distress and emotional scarring to the survivor. But studies have shown that children who experience sexual abuse tend to recover quicker and with better results if they have a supportive mechanism and a caring adult – parent, teacher, or friend – consistently in their life (Sussane Babbel, 2013).

If you have ever been sexually abused, you may feel that the world has become a dirty place. You may start doubting everyone’s intentions towards you which may affect your ability to sustain other healthy relationships. It may not be easy for you to cope with this incident. In fact, you may find it difficult to describe this incident to someone you trust the most. But what you need to keep in mind always is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE and IT IS POSSIBLE TO HEAL.

Yes, it is possible to heal if the survivors adopt self healing strategies such as practicing self compassion, allowing oneself sometime to heal or seeking psychosocial help or professional assistance. One can learn to cope with what has occurred and proceed to have healthy relationships in the future.

So today, we are going to tell you about how you can support yourself in this difficult situation:

Allow yourself some time to heal:

The recovery from sexual assault varies from individual to individual. Do not stress if it’s taking you a longer amount of time to recover because this is normal. Some may need weeks, months or years to recover depending on factors such as the intensity of abuse and whether it involved violence or not.

In fact, you may find difficulty in talking about abuse to someone especially in situation where abuser is none other than your relative. You may feel shattered and embarrassed. But what you need to believe here is that YOU CAN COME OUT OF THIS TRAUMA and for this you will need to give your body and mind some time to heal no matter how long it takes!

Practice self care and self compassion:

Often we treat ourselves unkindly when bad things happen to us. Instead of offering ourselves same empathy and support that we would give to a loved one, we usually end up criticising ourselves (“I was abused because I am bad”), we start hiding from others in shame (“I am worthless”) and we get stuck with our thoughts such as “Why ME”.

Such reactions make our suffering more complicated but it’s not our fault. This is how our brains are wired to function. However, if we respond to our sufferings in a soothing and healing way we can recover smoothly and quickly. Self compassion and self care are one of the tools that can help us to become more emotionally resilient.

(Read more about Self compassion and Self care at: https://chrisgermer.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Transforming-Trauma.pdf)

You are not responsible for what happened:

Often after the incidents of sexual abuse, survivors end up blaming themselves. No matter what the situation is, everyone’s body is supposed to be respected. Everyone deserves the right to dignity, choice, equality and respect. You need to accept the fact that you did not invite the abuser. You did not encourage him/her to touch you inappropriately. It is not your fault. It is their fault, because they should have respected your body and your boundaries no matter what.

Don’t shy away from making healthy relationships

It is indeed difficult to trust people if an assault has taken place. But we need to understand the fact that everyone is different. What is more important here is that you need to know your boundaries and if these boundaries are being respected than these are signs of a healthy relationship and you may continue to trust that person. This may include your parents, friends, teachers etc.

Seek help from a Psychologist or Counsellor:

Seeking psychosocial support is really helpful and is strongly recommended for children and caregivers struggling with an incident of sexual abuse. Psychologists and counsellors are trained to use age appropriate strategies that can support individuals to cope with such trauma. Everyone needs emotional support and a professional can help you come to terms with the insecurity and doubts arising inside you after any abusive incident that has taken place.

In a nut shell, it is essential that you do not suppress your feelings related to the incident. Many a times we suppress our emotions which is unhealthy because it does not let the healing process to begin in our body. If you feel like crying, then allow yourself to cry and just be there in that moment with yourself. Offer yourself some empathy as you would like to offer to your friend who is in pain. Grieve your pain and but don’t let it define your life.

Learn SMART Rules to Protect Yourself from Sexual Abuse

Learn SMART Rules to Protect Yourself from Sexual Abuse

2017-11-28

 

As we grow older, our parents and caregivers cannot be with us all the time. They may drop us at school but they cannot be with us while we are studying in school. Similarly, when we are studying with a tutor, our parents may be nearby but they can’t stay there with us to ensure that we are safe. In situations like these, one might be interacting with somebody who may be a potential abuser. It is very important for all of us to empower and protect ourselves from abuse. Let’s look at five SMART ways that can help us stay safe.

1 . Secrets – can be fun but if they make you feel sad, confused or uncomfortable then it is best to check them out with your parents or caregivers whom you trust the most. Our parents and caregivers such as teachers can help us to distinguish what’s safe and unsafe for us.

Mates – are there to help. So wherever you go, always take your mates with you. It is perfectly alright to request your friend to come along with you if you are going somewhere alone. And if you notice your friend is feeling uncomfortable going alone with someone then join them, maybe that’s what they need.

Always – tell your friends and parents where you are going and with whom. This is imperative. Its your parents and friends who can support you and save you. They can then keep an eye out for you.
Respect – your body. Always remember that your body is yours and no one has the right to see or touch your private parts. If anyone does that, say “No” firmly or seek help from elders.

Tell – your best friend and parents if any person makes you feel uncomfortable. Trust your instinct because if you feel uneasy in any person’s presence then they’re most probably not good for you.

The Truth About Child Sexual Abuse

The Truth About Child Sexual Abuse

2017-11-13

If you often find yourself calling an abuser ‘he’ or thinking of them as strangers with a creepy black hood on, then think again. A child sexual abuser can be a female, and they can be someone whom we know very well. They might be a close relative or a complete stranger, but you must identify them and warn your parents and peers immediately.

Abusers need to be exposed and the only way you can do that is by knowing the truth behind child sexual abuse.

So, today we are going to bust some of the most common myths related to sexual abuse:

Myth 1: Children are most often abused by males:

Fact: That is not true. In actuality, abuser can be a male or a female. According to a recent US study, one out of every five children is abuse by a female offender.

Myth 2: Child Sexual Abuse most often occurs in lower class families:

Fact: Child sexual abuse knows no boundaries. It occurs in all social and economic classes of society.  According to a report by Sahil – an NGO for child protection, 74% cases from the rural areas while 26% cases from the urban areas of Pakistan were reported during January to July 2017.

Myth 3: Boys are safe from sexual abuse

Fact: They’re at as much at risk as girls. In 2016, 850 cases were reported by male children in Pakistan which is still underestimated (Sahil, 2017). This is because in our cultures boys are expected to be tough and strong and its hardly believed that boys can also be the victims of sexual abuse.  .

Myth 4: Children often lie and make up stories about sexual abuse:

Fact: It’s very rare for children to lie about sexual abuse. In fact they try to give many hints to their caregivers that indicate an abuse is taking place with them

Myth 5: Sexual abuse is a onetime incident. It cannot happen again

Fact: It is very likely that abuser will abuse his/her victim again. Hence, it is very important to report the incident to someone you trust the most!

How To Tell If Your Friend is Going Through Abuse

How To Tell If Your Friend is Going Through Abuse

Do you find your best friend feeling low and depressed? Has he or she become fearful of certain places or an adult who they were not afraid of before? Have they suddenly started to avoid coming home or going to school? Do you often spot them spacing out in the middle of a conversation? Have they started feeling insecure? Have they ever referred to having secrets with an adult that they cannot share?

If the answer to any of these questions is YES, then you need to help your friend.

Often signs of sexual abuse are not obvious because there are usually fewer physical symptoms than the emotional ones. However, children/teens who are being abused/ or are survivors of abuse often exhibit certain characteristic symptoms that we all should keep in mind.

So today, we are going to tell you when to suspect abuse in children or your peers so that you can help them fight the battle.

  1. Are they having trouble falling asleep?

If nightmares have become too common and they cannot go to sleep as easily as they used to in the past, then this hints towards emotional turmoil. The reason may not always be sexual abuse, but it is essential that you speak to them about it and rule out sexual abuse.

  1. Have they become sad, aloof, or clingy?

If you notice your friend, who earlier used to make group conversations so lively with jokes and laughter has suddenly become passive or quiet then you must speak to him/her.  Explore if anything is bothering them or if they are scared of someone they know.

  1. Are they suddenly too secretive?

If any of your friend or class fellow refers to ‘secrets’ that he/she has with an adult and cannot share it with you then try to find out that the secret does not relate to any kind of abuse.

  1. Do they lose their temper on petty things?

If you notice your friend has suddenly become excessively aggressive or display intense anger and rage in little things or towards someone specifically then you need to help your friend.

  1. Do they have inappropriate knowledge of sexual content and behaviour?

If you notice that your friend has suddenly started discussing inappropriate sexual content with you or tries to show you such content then you must stop your friend and explore where did he/she got access to such information? If they hesitate to share with you then you must inform an adult to help her/him out!

Is there an injury or a mark which wasn’t there before?

If so, then speak to your friend about it, check if everything is okay and if they want to talk about anything that is pressing-

Some of the behaviours and psychological reactions listed above can be a result of emotional upheavals that your friends may experience inevitably. The death of a loved one, problems at school or with personal relationships can make your friend exhibit symptoms which do not necessarily mean that they are being sexually abused. However, if you notice all of the symptoms from the list above then it is essential to explore further if abuse has taken place.

Remember, sexual abuse can dent anyone’s confidence and self esteem. Your friends may be reluctant in sharing the incident with you but you need to assure them that you are there to help them out. So HELP your friends!!