Moments of Hope: One Safe Space at a Time

Kirthi
Posted July 13, 2019 from India

If the children of today are the citizens of tomorrow, we have more than an ordinary duty toward them. Keeping children safe from sexual abuse involves constant engagement that not only talks to the children themselves, but entire villages that it takes to raise each of them. This past week has showed me something very poignant: training 400 children in one school and over a thousand at-risk young people across different communities has opened my eyes to some significant truths.

Seeing parents and teachers invest in doing away with shame, silence, and blame in connection with CSA, and watching young minds becoming aware of ways to stay safe is heartwarming and saddening all at once. It is immensely heartwarming to see the conscious efforts that the ecosystem of each child takes toward making change happen. It is immensely heartwarming to see parents become safe and trusted adults, dissolve any room for silence and shame, and open up spaces for their children to share and speak about anything they need to know. It is immensely heartwarming to build a community of safe adults in teachers, ancillary staff, and others who work with and around children.

But it is also saddening, because we live in a world where childhoods are neither free not safe, that the onus is still on them to stay safe. It is saddening to know that even as we speak to some children at a time, there are more that may not know how to protect themselves, more that may be vulnerable on account of several factors beyond their control, and more that may be in need of immediate rescuing.

And yet, we persist. We persist because each face that sits from across me in a classroom represents a story of awakening.

A father who decides that his daughter can continue going to school because her teachers prioritize her safety.

A mother who stands up for her son when he tells her about an abusive stranger.

A teacher who sets up a “safety booth” in school that she sits in when she is not teaching a class, and for several hours before and after school, so that any child or parent who needs to share, speak up, report anything, or ask a question will know that she is there.

These stories matter, these stories heal. These stories are moments of hope that fill the gaps between trepidation at painful news and firming the resolve to redouble efforts to make change happen.

The most moving part is the silent calm that comes from feeling the strength and support of every survivor and changemaker around you in spirit, standing by in gentle endorsement of every effort to ensure that no child ever faces sexual abuse.

This story was submitted in response to Moments of Hope.

Comments 13

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Hello, dear Kirthi,

What an uplifting post! Congratulations for training 400 future changemakers! I'm smiling while I read your post. It does bring hope. I look forward to reading more stories like this. As a mother of two children, I share mixed feelings of heartwarming and saddening like you enumerated. Thank you for being a catalyst of change! Thank you for bringing hope! Good luck on your submission! This is message worth reading.

Kirthi
Jul 15
Jul 15

Thank you dear Karen! You are such a force of nature and kindness <3 Thank you for sharing and for the solidarity, always.

You’re welcome, dear sister. Aww. Thank you for your kind words! Yes. Keep up the fight!

Jill Langhus
Jul 14
Jul 14

Hi Kirthi,

How are you doing, love? I hope you're doing well:-) Thanks so much for sharing your most recent update and what you've been focusing on. I can see what you mean about the double-edge sword here. You have managed to instill a thread of hope in your post, though, which is lovely and inspiring. Hopefully these children will see a better future than what is expected from today's standpoint. Anything is possible:-)

Please keep up your great and important work!

I hope you're doing well, and enjoying your weekend, dear.

XX

Kirthi
Jul 15
Jul 15

Thank you dear Jill! You are so kind to help amplify that tiny glimmer of hope into a whole bonfire that's giving all of us warmth <3

Jill Langhus
Jul 15
Jul 15

You're very welcome, dear:-)

Hope you're doing very well, and that you have a great week!

XX

SIMON MUREU
Jul 15
Jul 15

A good wording to others too.Thank you

Kirthi
Jul 15
Jul 15

Thank you Simon!

Beth Lacey
Jul 16
Jul 16

Kirthi, it is always so nice to read your stories.

Rahmana Karuna
Jul 19
Jul 19

Beloved Kirtha, how sweet gentle and inspiring. may this spread like spider web around the globe. may children be brought into the world through love, and birthed gently with love also.

Tamarack Verrall
Jul 21
Jul 21

Dear Kirthi,
What tremendous work you have been doing. I do believe that one chance to hear what you have to say, one chance to meet you can and has changed the lives, the ability to speak out for every one of these young people who have had the good fortune to have been part of your recent travels. It is heartbreaking to see the photo of these young ones and know that many have been abused. It is empowering to know that along the way you met a teacher who is so dedicated that she set up a safety booth. I love that we are all in touch through World Pulse. I think of you often and celebrate that we are working together.
Much love in sisterhood,
Tam

Pukhraj Ranjan
Jul 23
Jul 23

I felt like it had been a while since I got the Kirthi doze! thank you for your words and more importantly, your work.

Maya Iwata
Aug 21
Aug 21

Kirthi, I echo Karen's sentiments that you are training 400 future changemakers! Thank you for your leadership and work. Looking forward to hearing more of your stories as well as more moments of hope. The work is hard and can be heavy so hanging on to moments of hope and the seeds of change is so helpful.