Bengaluru: A band of clowns is on a mission to eradicate child sex abuse from the city and arm children with information that they can use to ensure their own safety. Compassionate Clowns, a Bengaluru based non-profit organization, spearheaded by Harish Bhuvan, who is a medical clown himself, firmly believes that only awareness can empower children. “The whole idea is to prevent such crimes against children. If unfortunately, however, if it does happen, the child should know what to do.”
While all children are vulnerable, it is kids who are physically or mentally challenged that are at a higher risk. “I met a nine year old recently who had been sexually abused by her uncle repeatedly under the pretext that it would cure her disease. She had been diagnosed with cancer and was terminally ill,” he says and sighs, before continuing, “I honestly felt like we needed to change this.”
Referring to the recent atrocities that occurred in a play school in Bellandur, he emphasises the need for a child to know what is to be done if such an incidence occurs. “The incident at the school shocked us all but it was the courage and presence of mind of one child that uncovered the truth. We had been working with children for a couple of years and felt the need to address this issue,” he explains.
“We have magic tricks, we have card games and we’re dancing,” says Harish, unable to hide his excitement, “But first, there is a half an hour long training to go through,” he adds seriously. The volunteers will be trained in creating scenarios through role play while the kids will be taught how to differentiate between safe and unsafe touch and what to do in case of danger. “The session will be centred on the ‘No Go Tell’ mantra, which is telling no first, then exiting the spot or room and telling someone trustworthy.”