Critical training to better protect, support, and heal vulnerable children


series: PREVENTING SEXUAL ABUSE by meera seshadri


It is important to acknowledge that we all come from different backgrounds and cultures in which these topics are either easier or more difficult to talk about. We all have stigmas and we all have different attitudes that we have from birth and from our families. And that's okay.

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But when you're working with children who have been displaced and who are experiencing really negative and traumatic effects from violence, it is important to be very open to understanding that they have already experienced such a challenge in their development.

If you were there with the hope that these children are going to lead happy lives and learn to grow into respectful adults then you will need to engage with these topics in a way that's a little bit more open and a little bit more progressive than perhaps even you may be used to.

It's okay to bring your own ideas into and your character into the role of being a caregiver. But also know that you being open to different ways of engaging with these topics is going to be so positive for children who have only been exposed to one way of thinking about it.

Sharing a cultural background with these children and being a role model who is open to talking about this and open to new ideas can actually be even more powerful than someone who doesn't share the same cultural background and is trying to help.

It can be so effecting, especially in that timeframe when children are sponges and they're really developing their own sense of morality and their own sense of identity for someone with the same cultural background to express openness and positivity around the idea of sexual health or just being a healthy child or healthy young teenager. Being open to the fact that we all experience harm or trauma and as a caregiver you are here to help them get through this and heal beyond that experience and not let it define them, that can be really powerful.


Meera Seshadri

Meera is a health communications specialist, researcher, and activist working at the intersection of gender-based violence prevention and sexual health promotion. She has spent over a decade working to increase access to, and utilization of, comprehensive...

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sexual health resources for adolescents in communities worldwide, developing violence prevention and education programs at Emory, Georgetown, and Harvard Universities and working as a consultant and curriculum development specialist for Soteria Solutions, the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the World Bank.

She is passionate about confronting the ideological and institutional challenges that affect young people's health, wellness, and autonomy. Meera works in coalition with university, non-profit, corporate, and community stakeholders to create policies and environments that prioritize gender equity, intersectionality, and social justice.


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