Ayushmann Khurrana took to his social media account on Wednesday to talk about putting an end to violence against children. The actor, currently shooting for Abhishek Kapoor’s next in Chandigarh, has been appointed as UNICEF’s Celebrity Advocate for their global campaign that aims to fight violence against kids.
On World Children’s Day today, the actor, while chatting with BT, underlined the need to protect kids, who have become more vulnerable to violence due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“COVID-19 has not been easy for anyone, especially children. It has made them more vulnerable to violence. We can prevent this by being aware and protecting those around us. And as men and boys, we have a responsibility to be better role models because we know, often, it is we men who are perpetrators of violence. As UNICEF’s celebrity advocate, I am committed to ending violence against children,” he says.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (2018), every hour, five cases of child sexual abuse are reported in India.
The National Family Health Survey-4 reveals that one out of every five adolescents girls experiences physical violence from the age of 15, and 99 per cent school children are subjected to physical and mental abuse by teachers (according to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, 2012). “Children deserve to live free from violence. Children’s rights are human rights. Violence has terrible consequences for children, affecting them physically and mentally. The effects can last an entire lifetime and can destroy a child’s chance to live a happy, healthy life. They’re subjected to violence in so many places — at home, in school, on the move, on the streets, online and in the community. It happens in both wealthy and low-income families. Often, the perpetrators are those that children trust,” says Ayushmann.
He adds, “Violence against children is often not reported. Children don’t speak up and parents, even if they know, may not report it. Sexual abuse is often accompanied by stigma, hence children and parents shy away from reporting the cases.
Children who grow up seeing and experiencing violence often perpetuate violence. As actors and public figures, we attract a lot of attention and are therefore in a position to put the spotlight on the needs of children. I hope to use my passion and commitment to increasing public awareness about children’s issues, advocate for children, especially the vulnerable ones, and support UNICEF’s mission to ensure every child’s right to live free from violence.”