Singing against child abuse

A prevention campaign is using songs to teach children about the rights they have concerning their bodies.

25 August 2019 | Education

Walvis Bay • Leandrea Louw

Martella Deideriks; MakeANoise; ". . . it is okay to say no, or to tell someone if they are being abused.

The MakeANoise Community Safety and Crime Prevention as well as Child Abuse Prevention Programme branched out to the coast recently.

The project, focusing on the prevention of gender-based violence, rape and crime, was launched in Windhoek during December 2018.

MakeANoise Community Safety was appointed as the Namibian ambassador for the International Child Abuse Prevention programme My Body Is My Body.

It seeks to empower children about the rights related to their bodies, and teaches them that their bodies are special, that no one should hurt them or touch their private parts. It also provides advice on what to do when encountering a problem, or who to approach when someone makes them uncomfortable or touches them inappropriately.

The Child Abuse Prevention Programme is presented in over 60 countries and so far has reached over 500 children in Namibia since January 2019.

Emmarencia van Wyk, the chief executive officer and founder of MakeANoise, said she believes that if society can be made aware of the various forms of abuse and the impact of childhood trauma, people will be inspired to start speaking up and help children to report these issues and get the necessary help to deal with their ordeals.

Martella Deideriks, who represents the campaign in Walvis Bay, said it seeks to empower children all over Namibia.

“Children should feel safe at home, in school and in their communities. It is, however, in these places that violence against children is more prevalent. This is often at the hands of people they see every day, love and trust. For many children, violence wears a familiar face.”

MakeANoise also strives to prevent violence, rape and crime with tangible safety tools such as the MakeANoise Personal Safety Alarm.

The device produces a loud sound, at 140 decibels, with the purpose to deter, confuse and scare away potential perpetrators. Corporates are urged to come on board to make the safety tool at a cost of N$150 each available to women, children and the most vulnerable in society.

Local artist Vernice Plaatje will be assisting the roll-out process of the programme at the various schools the coast. MakeANoise Community Safety is supported by EYE Namibia and the American Corner Walvis Bay.

Diederiks said they are targeting children at primary school level in particular.

“They don’t always know how to relay the message that they are being abused, and if they are threatened this scares them even more. I want to teach them that it is okay to say no, or to tell someone if they are being abused. Helping one child to say no will have a ripple effect.”

Schools visited thus far include Kuisebmond Primary School, !Nara Primary School in Walvis Bay, Auas Primary School, Academia Primary School, Heritage Private School and St Paul’s College in Windhoek.

Parents are more than welcome to check out the songs by searching ‘My Body is My Body’ on YouTube and to teach them to children at home.

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