Ashhad Ahmed Qureshi a Pakistani writer who inscribed the book “Mera Jism Mera Hai” which is based on a topic which is taboo in our societal norms. But it is the time to break the glass ceiling and smash the stigma that abolishes the victim’s life. This Gallant Pakistani Wrote a Book to Educate Kids about Sexual Abuse: Commendable!
Awareness creation is the only way to save our little angles from the disguised wolves. It has become mandatory to talk about “bodily autonomy” with our kids, and creative ways to create a more instinctual understanding of consent for the little ones.
This Gallant Pakistani Wrote a Book to Educate Kids about Sexual Abuse
The Book’s Title is “Mera Jism Mera Hai”. It is an exemplified children’s book series that is written by a “sexually abused victim” who has keenly demystified the myths and fallacies around sexual abuse and provide free permissible literature and mental health resources for children and their guardians peculiarly.
Arshad Ahmed Qureshi shared the Dark Side of his Life
“As a child, I was sexually abused for years by someone in my extended family. I remember how confused and helpless I had felt. I had so badly wanted to do something about it but I didn’t know what and I didn’t know how. But my story is just one of the countless others. I was privileged that when I was able to finally disclose to my parents, I was able to get the support I needed to heal but I know many others are not so lucky. This is why I wrote this book —it is a book I wish I had had growing up.”
Start having these conversations when they’re young…feel no shame to discuss
Chosen Urdu as a Medium to Communicate
“Most of what I read on existing literature during my research was not suitable for a Pakistani context. Not even the language could be translated to Urdu easily. We don’t have words in Urdu for personal space, body boundaries, and so on, at least not for everyday use. You can translate them for sure, but it would not carry the same meaning. I had to think about how to convey the same concept but in a way that would be understood by everyone.”
The Tone of the Book is Cautiously kept Descriptive, yet Careful and Compassionate
“I led a workshop with the program manager for mental health at Indus Health Network, where we put each word of the book under scrutiny. Is it simple to understand? Is it culturally appropriate? Is it respectful of people’s beliefs? Are there better ways of conveying the same concept? After making all the necessary changes, we finally sent the manuscript to underserved areas in Karachi, where the community members (who would hopefully read this to their children in the future) provided their feedback and we made necessary changes.”
“The book also provides an activity section where children can identify the family members they can trust and open up to. A similar guide is also available for parents where they can recognize changes in their children’s behaviors and know something is troubling them accordingly. In more than 80% of the cases, the perpetrators are known to the victims, usually family members or acquaintances. The truth is that this issue is so heavily stigmatized that those who do speak up are speaking truth to power. They often risk losing everything, sometimes even their own lives (honor killings), so we, as a society, really need to think critically about what it must take for someone to disclose their experiences. For so many of us in Pakistan’s collectivist society, our freedom and autonomy are stripped from us and chained to the approval of others, usually male, members of the family. I want the title of the book to be a fitting reminder to all of us that decisions around our bodily autonomy, respect, and dignity are ours to make, now and forever. At the end of the day, the most important things that I hope readers, namely survivors, will take away from the book are that their experiences are real and should be believed, their ways of coping with them are valid, it was never their fault, and that they will always be deserving of love and support.”
The book is priced at Rs275, and it should be included in the school curriculum to educate and prepare kids to sense Good Touch of Bad Touch.