Categories
Resilience

Dear Thais, report child exploitation!

Today in Thailand, social media posts of a famous Thai music producer and his 9-year-old daughter are going viral.

These photos can appear both innocent and disturbing in the eyes of the general public. His hand is in her pants. His hand is under her shirt. The photos of his interaction with the girl are clearly not rape of a child. So, can we – the public – just dismiss reporting them?

Before answering that question, let’s play a critical thinking game with this scenario. Instead of the 9-year-old daughter, imagine this man putting his hands into the pants and under the shirt of:

  • his young son
  • his adult son
  • his adult daughter
  • his own mother
  • his own father
  • his coworker
  • his adult wife/girlfriend

How would the son, daughter, mother, father, coworker, and wife/girlfriend likely feel and react? In which scenario above would it be appropriate for the adult male to slide his hands under someone’s clothing?

A child by nature is physically and psychologically vulnerable to exploitation by adults.

What the photos show appear to be grooming or inappropriate interaction with a child. This can be reported!

Please report any video, photo, caption, or comment that shows:

  • sexualization of children (boys or girls)
  • inappropriate interaction with children
  • promotion of sexual exploitation of children

You can help protect children by reporting such “creepy” content via:

  • ThaiHotline.org
  • Twitter
  • Facebook, Instagram
    • Click “…” and select “Report” … sexual content … involving a child.

Categories
Events

Wellness Technology

We understand that traumatic memories from childhood can remain and impact a person’s health and behavior long into adulthood. Researching alternative therapies to release this trauma informs our program of services. We went on a study tour to visit Harmonic Egg centers across the United States between June to August 2021.

  • Vibrology Center in Alpharetta, Georgia
  • Sound Joy Studio in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Harmonic Life in Garland, Texas
  • Harmonic Life in Denver, Colorado

We felt first-hand the relief and relaxation promoted by the Harmonic Egg. Our experiences are shared in the SafeguardKids SE Youtube playlist.

SafeguardKids SE is bringing a Harmonic Egg from the US to Bangkok, Thailand, in February 2022. It serves as one stream of revenue to raise funds for our child safety programs. We offer the Harmonic Egg as part of our therapeutic programs. Severely traumatized children will have access to our Harmonic Egg at no cost. Their therapists can refer such children to us for alternative healing support.

You can view rates and book sessions with the Bangkok Egg in our Euphonics IS Wellness Center page.

Categories
Educational Programs Events

Child Protection Training by Thammasat University

From 4 to 8 January 2021, the Working Group to Care for and Protect Abused Children of Thammasat University Hospital delivered a week-long child protection training course to twenty child care service providers from across Thailand. Led by Dr. Wanida Pao-in, this in-person and online course covered child abuse; child physical, cognitive, and emotional development stages; interviewing children and parents; roles of social workers, child psychiatrists, law enforcement; laws governing child protection; practical measures and steps to assist children and their guardians.

Training scholarships totaling 6,000 Thai baht were given to two SafeguardKids members, Snow White Smelser and Phaephirat Jearmsilpa, who actively participated in case studies, role-plays, and discussions.

Categories
Resilience

Victims to Victors

Words have power. Words can also disempower. We must mindfully choose the words and phrases used to label situations and people.

Among those who have suffered traumatic childhood experiences, the word “victim” may trap them in a victim mindset or may limit their ability to realize their full potential. Some call themselves “experiencers” to neutralize the emotional pain associated with victimization.

Many have chosen to call themselves “survivors”. What comes to mind when you hear the word “survivor”? Drowning, fires, plane crashes, car accidents, tsunamis.

The label “survivor” captures the stage of overcoming life-threatening trauma lost in the label “victim”.

“Survivor” however can sound inadequate in capturing the full journey of the person who endures lengthy waves of childhood trauma.

Would “victor” better describe the eventual achievement of being released from the physical, mental, and emotional chains of continuous victimization? “Victor” may better capture the complex journey of overcoming of adverse childhood experiences.

We at SafeguardKids want to guide those who have suffered childhood trauma from victim to survivor to victor of their life journeys. More importantly, we serve to educate children and caregivers on ways to prevent harm to children.

Let’s continue to invest in the safety and well-being of children and expand their creative potential.

Join us in supporting the next generation of innovators, creators, and caregivers.

Categories
Events weSafeguardKids

Art for Love

Motherhood, Childhood, and Mother Earth

On 10 December 2020 in Ratchaburi, Thailand, Pasaya Textiles revealed its “Rose Garden” textile art collection. The collection includes 12 intricately illustrated roses by the Thai artist Ajarn Phansakdi Chakkaphak. Pasaya has made his illustrations larger than life by machine weaving the roses onto 8-foot tall panels of its finest fabrics.

ในภาพอาจจะมี 1 คน
Photo: Schle Woodthanan, Creator and Owner of Pasaya and Chairman of the SafeguardKids Board of Directors (Pasaya’s Facebook Page)

One of the roses, named in honor of H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden, in collection is graciously given by Ajarn Phansakdi Chakkaphak and Pasaya to World Childhood Foundation of Sweden. During the Art for Love celebration, H.E. Anand Panyarachun, former Thai Prime Minister presided over the handover ceremony. Due to current travel restrictions, the Rose Garden collection was received by Ms. Darin Phanthusak of SafeguardKids until it can be transferred to World Childhood. Proceeds of the auction of the remaining roses will be donated to Seub Nakhasathien Foundation (environmental protection), Mother’s Spiritual Museum, and SafeguardKids Foundation.

Photo: Ms. Darin Phanthusak stands by 1 of 12 textile art pieces in the Rose Garden collection

Categories
Events Resilience Technical Services weSafeguardKids

Thai Laws: Online Safety

Thailand upgrades its laws to better protect children online and offline

In December 2015, with initial drafting by Prosecutor Mark Charoenwong, Ph.D., and input from SafeguardKids, Thailand passed legislation to ban the possession of child sexual abuse material. Now in December 2020, Thailand is reviewing additional legislation drafted to protect the safety and wellbeing of children online.

On 17 December 2020, representatives from the Department of Special Investigation, Office of Attorney General, Central Juvenile and Family Court, Supreme Court, and key legal assistance and child protection non-government organizations met again to review the latest draft of “Offenses against Children Online” for inclusion into the Thai Penal Code. This draft covers grooming, unwanted sexting, extortion, stalking, and cyber-bullying, reports of which continue to grow.

This group of experts emphasized the need for wording clarity to avoid arbitrary interpretation, the roles of victims and offenders, as well as the ability to apply this new legislation in real-world practice. The deliberations of this draft will continue early in 2021.

Categories
Inspiring Compassion weSafeguardKids

Broken Hearts, Broken Minds

He walked to a neighbor’s house and asked if there was any yard work he could do. Smelling the alcohol on his breath, the neighbor hesitated and decided to let him inside the back yard.

As she walked him to the back yard, she told him, “The tree needs some trimming. The branches are growing into the electrical power lines. I can only give you $20.”

He smiled and fetched his equipment. This is one of the few odd jobs he could secure around town to pay his bills. Over 50, he was divorced, recently homeless, and struggling to find steady work that would accommodate his drinking schedule.

People judge him, pity him, and look down on him for not being able to stop drinking alcohol. He went to local treatment programs for alcohol dependency, remained sober for a couple of years, and relapsed. Again and again, until the program managers gave up on him.

He drinks to dull the pain of self-worthlessness. He drinks to dull the pain of a deep scar in his heart. He was groomed and sexually abused when he was 4 years old by a male family member he loved, trusted, and respected. He grew up confused about his sexuality, confused about love and sex, and angry after realizing in his teens that he was actually abused. Drinking since his teenage years is how he coped with the trauma.

What would his life be like if he had not suffered abuse? What would his life be like if he had learned positive ways of overcoming the trauma? What would he be like if he were healed?

We want to safeguard children from harm. We want to find alternative ways of healing to help those who suffered childhood traumas. Please join us in mending broken minds and broken hearts.

Update: In mid-February 2021, the man in the above story passed away of a heart attack while helping friends move to a new house. He will remain an inspiration for voicing the impact of sexual abuse on children.

Categories
Educational Programs Resilience

Empower Children

Warn children about the techniques used by child sex offenders, particularly grooming and sextortion. Many child sex offenders coerce the child to keep the sexual abuse a secret, so inform children which kinds of secrets are okay to keep and which are not. Let children know that they can talk to a trusted adult, child helpline, or school counselor if someone is bullying them by threatening to share indecent photos of them – in other words, sextorting them.

Talk to children calmly, openly, and appropriately when they ask questions about sex. Children can be taught to protect their bodies and to say no to inappropriate touch. For more on how to educate children of varying age groups about sexual abuse, read the Body Boundaries guide for parents and guardians by Save the Children Sweden, available in English, Spanish, and Swedish.

With more and more children using smartphones, the number of children taking and sending sexual photos and videos of themselves – a form of “sexting” – is also growing. Children should be informed of the risk of sexting. Once their sexual photos and videos are passed to another person, the child will no longer have control of who else accesses their material. Once their material is shared onto the internet, the material will remain online forever. For instance, the sexual photos a teenager sends to her boyfriend while they are “in love” can later be uploaded by the boyfriend out of spite or vengeance during a dispute or break-up.

Categories
Educational Programs Resilience weSafeguardKids

Child Safety Online

Children must continually be reminded to not accept friend requests from people they have never met face-to-face. Many child sex offenders create fake online profiles to gain the friendship of children to possibly abuse. They use photos of children of the approximate age they are sexually attracted to and use clues found in the targeted child’s profile to convince the child that they are in the same peer group. Additionally, children should not post photos, texts, check-ins, or page-likes that identify what school they attend, where they live, or where they frequently hang out. These details help child sex offenders make in-person contact with the child possible.

For guidance on how to teach children to protect themselves online from sexual abuse, read the #Netsmart handbook by Save the Children Sweden. This handbook is available in English and Swedish.

Categories
Inspiring Compassion

Impact of Abuse

Sexual abuse has LIFELONG EFFECTS on exploited children.

Being sexually abused as a child will impact deeply with long-term effects. Some abused children are severely damaged, both physically and emotionally; others recuperate without obvious dysfunctions and can go on with their lives. Many repress their experiences but risk developing social and sexual distortions. Offenders often claim to have been abused themselves to attain sympathy, but recent studies suggest that the number who were former victims is vastly exaggerated.

Sexual abuse is a private wound, seldom revealed to even the child’s closest friends and relatives. Some children who disclose the abuse to an adult they trust are met with disbelief and blame. This unloving reaction deepens their distrust in adults and intensifies their anxiety. Many sexually abused children attempt suicide to escape the pain; many succeed in ending their own lives. The abused children who don’t take their own lives may harm themselves in other ways, such as through alcohol or drug abuse.

Many children carry the scars of abuse late into adulthood. Trying to engage in a healthy adult relationship becomes a challenge, as memories of abuse surface during instances of intimacy with their partners. Some victims develop an aversion to sexual contact. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some victims confuse sex with love or with exchanging care.

Emotional Effects

  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Blame
  • Denial
  • Depression
  • Distress
  • Frustration
  • Guilt
  • Low self-esteem
  • Self-hatred or self-loathing
  • Shock
  • Sympathy and pity toward offender
  • Vengefulness
  • Emotionally withdrawn
  • Worthlessness

Physical Effects

  • Bleeding in the genital and anal area
  • Bruises in the genital and anal area
  • Difficulty walking
  • Itching in the genital area
  • Pregnancy
  • Self-harm injuries (such as from suicide attempts)
  • Significant weight gain or loss (from appetite disturbances)
  • Sleep problems

Behavioral Effects

  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Aggression
  • Bedwetting
  • Delinquency
  • Disrupted peer relations
  • Eating disorders
  • Hostility
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impaired trust
  • Lying
  • Nightmares
  • Phobias
  • Running away from home
  • Sexualized behavior
  • Self-harm or self-mutilation
  • Suicidal thoughts and attempt