Until a few years back, Sexual Harassment in Pakistan was considered somewhat a taboo topic. Now, however, awareness is raised and women are taught to stand up for themselves. Children are educated on how to identify harassment; they are also trained to speak up when an individual makes them uncomfortable. In many cases, especially in underdeveloped areas of Pakistan, children are not even aware that what is happening to them is absolutely wrong and completely unacceptable!
Mera Jism Mera Hai – A Children’s Book On Sexual Harassment
‘Mera jism mera hai’ is an illustrated children’s book written by Ashhad Qureshi that educates children about their bodies and explains how to recognise and identify Sexual Harassment. Ashhad talked about how he had been sexually abused for many years when he was a child by someone in his extended family. He further talked about how, unlike him, many children do not have the privilege to talk about it with their parents.
‘Mera jism mera hai’ teaches children how to defend themselves against all types of harassment and abuse. In several Sexual Harassment cases, it is a member of the extended family that is the perpetrator. The language used in the book is carefully constructed in a way that makes it easy to understand while remaining socially appropriate for children.
Our Mission to Spread Awareness
To successfully mature as a community it is necessary to realise the significance of educating our children about such topics. Until and unless our children trust us, they will not feel comfortable talking about it which would lead to them repeatedly falling prey to the abuser.
A few months ago, we were approached by Dr Saira, Headmistress of a Government School in Sindh. She raised her concern regarding the abundance of child sexual abuse incidents in her community. She requested that our organization make efforts to ensure that 360 copies of ‘Mera Jism Mera Hai‘ could be donated to her campus. It would not only change the lives of these young girls but also help in creating safer communities.
Each book costs 250/- pkr therefore we aimed to raise 90,000/- pkr through donations. We are proud to say that with the help of many kind-hearted individuals, we were able to collect all that money and provide those books to the school in Sindh.
The books Finally Reached Young Girls
We were overjoyed when the school shared pictures of girls reading the books recently. Dr. Saira arranged an awareness session at Government Girls Secondary School Masu Bhurgri. She is also in the process of setting up a small library in the area, and we are honored to have our book be part of the collection!
Daastan believes that this book must reach as many children as possible! We urge you all to buy it not only for the children in your own house but also for those who can’t afford it! If you have drivers or house help with children, you should start with educating them so they are able to teach their children. Here’s a link where you can order it from. Let’s work together to bring about this change!