Chuppi Todo (Break the Silence) a film by documentary filmmaker Sanjay Kumar Singh, took shape in 2011 when Sanjay, in an effort to educate his six-year-old daughter and children like her about abuse, decided to make a film for children on how to recognize abuse, raise their voices against it and report it to a responsible adult.
The film, which is the first in the series and available on YouTube, is largely enacted through mime with a voice-over. The film asks children not to stay silent, not to keep secrets from their mothers and other responsible adults but to speak up about abuse. Author-blogger Sweta Vikram, writing on Halabol points out some of the cultural factors that could ‘paralyze’ a child at a ‘subconscious level’ thereby bringing down the shutters and ensuring silence.
The film also shows that even when children say No, or when they are uncomfortable in a situation, they can be ‘groomed‘ into giving in to the abuser’s wishes. In a telephonic interview, Vidya strongly emphasized that unless adult caregivers, to whom we are asking children to report abuse, are themselves educated and informed in a manner that allows them to be prepared and confident to handle these situations, asking children to report abuse will not go a long way to combat the problem. Adults around a child should feel prepared and confident to address child sexual abuse and the only way to do it is to give them information that does not overwhelm them and put the shutters down.
Of course, since the time that the film was made (2010), India has progressed when it comes to framing separate laws to tackle child abuse. There have been a few other films too, and very recently, on 20th September 2013, the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) released a documentary film titled Thank You Ma to generate greater awareness about child abuse and the steps needed to protect children from it. Aparna is a researcher who loves to travel across Myriad Spaces and highlight stories from South Asia. Enter your email address to subscribe to the IPF and receive notifications of new posts by email.
About the IPF Established in April 2012, the IPF has been engaging with young people to give them a platform to make their voices heard. Our mission is to highlight challenges facing young people, train the next generation of citizen journalists, create community videos and podcast series, and share the work of inspirational young social entrepreneurs.
Currently the IPF has over 300 writers from 35 countries, all under the age of 30, who share their stories and give their insight on the issues that are important to them. Disclaimer: The views shared in articles on this website are the views of the author only, and do not represent the views of the International Political Forum. Typically, once a commissioning editor likes an idea and trailer, he discusses it in detail with the filmmaker.
The 26-year old has fought three long court cases to become India’s first transgender sub-inspector. Lack of proper education among adults, queasiness around explaining sexuality related matters to children and the culture of children being expected to respect adult members of family without question, often put children in an abuse situation which they may not be able to report. The narrative follows two children Rahul and Sania who are close friends and enjoy reading and playing together. So, even when the crime of sexual violence is and was happening, many children don’t speak up against it because of fear or shock or shame or confidence or lack of support. It’s Not Your Fault!, produced by the students of SCM Sophia (Sophia Institute of Social Communications Media, Mumbai) and directed byDipika Lal, who is now a media professional, tackled the issue of child abuse in India. Grooming, according to Vidya Reddy, Director ofTulir – an organization working on the prevention and healing of child sexual abuse in India, is a very critical area for adults to understand, in order to be able to create the proper safeguards that are essential to providing a safe and protective environment for children.

For it is only when adults are educated and informed about the context and dynamics of abuse, can they not only create a protective and safe space for children to speak up about abuse without fear, but can also take proper preventive steps to minimize opportunities for an abuser to get to a child. A man who is abusive towards a minor girl who is the household help, is rudely shocked when his own child asks him why he does not love and caress her the way he does the maid. It’s good to see activists, government agencies, filmmakers and media professionals using the audiovisual medium in an impactful manner to break the silence and taboo around child abuse.
Passionate about cultures, people and issues related to ICT4D, governance, community, gender and social inclusion, you will find her ever willing to engage in a good conversation over a steaming cup of tea.
From regional political coverage, humour, and the political impact of sport, the IPF is as diverse as its readers. He was answering a question on whether a documentary is an essay on celluloid, a chronicle , a review, commentary or activism.
In the film, Sarkar highlights the stereotypes around transgenders through the birth of a transgender baby in a hospital. We salutes the brave hearts who never deny from what they are and accepts them as a part of our society. In this post, we look at a few documentary films that inform and also urge both adults and children to break the silence around child abuse.
Since then, Sanjay has created many more films and TV spots with the same theme, as awareness building tools against abuse. One day while playing hide-and-seek in a neighbor’s house, Rahul is urged by his neighbor to hide behind him and is then covered with the shawl that the man was wearing and pulled onto his lap. Their opinions and experiences either hold no value or are labeled as “cute” or “imaginative.” And for those of us who are or were rebellious morons and seek answers to everything illogical even as a kid, we are chastised or labeled as “disrespectful.” How many children or even adults do you think can be okay with feeling like an outcaste? Using visual analogy from the story of Little Red Riding Hood and having two adults who had faced abuse as a child (one of them being Dipika herself) open up about their experience on camera, the director not only brought out what children feel and go through but also what issues they may face when some of them do open up about it. The dynamics of abuse need to be understood by the adults…For example, unless you understand grooming, you will never understand why a child won’t disclose about abuse and that is the crux of it, you know. We need many more such films to shake us out of our complacency and ignorance, educate, inform and help us tackle child abuse in the way it should be.
He means it when he says that as founder-chairman of Indian Documentary Foundation, a non-profit venture with an agenda to promote and take non-fictional films to a wider audience across the country and platforms. A frightened Rahul runs away and later relates his ordeal to Sania who informs him that once a similar incident had happened to her but that her mother had taught her to say NO.
In her blog post on Women’ Web, blogger Divorceddoodler explains some of the reasons why children do not confide in their caregivers or other responsible adults, namely that children lack the proper words to describe what has happened, they are afraid of being disbelieved, they feel it’s somehow their fault or that they may have been threatened into silence. Rarely, some financiers such as Sundance also offer post-production support with editing and production labs. She takes a shaken and embarrassed Rahul to her mother, reassuring him that she would be the right person to help him.
Sundance, which usually funds films on social and human rights issues, has a $1.2 million per year fund that has so far supported about 500 films in 62 countries. Sania’s mother calms the children and then  educates them about safe and unsafe touch, to say NO to the latter and run away.

It receives most of its funding from billionaires like George Soros and Bill Gates who see documentaries as an effective medium of creating awareness and debate on critical issues. Talking about documentaries is a hazardous task and you do it at your own risk and compound the risk by making them, distributing them and screening them in regular theatres.
The film also teaches children that even if they are not able to clearly identify the nature of a touch, if it makes them uncomfortable, it is best to refuse and report it.
Though some companies such as sports goods maker Puma do back documentaries as part of their social initiatives, the big money comes from governments and public-funded broadcasters who have dedicated documentary channels.
Christilla Huillard-Kann, who is in charge of documentaries at television station ARTE France, says that her department buys about 50 documentaries a year for daytime broadcast. What many, including industrialist Anand Mahindra, termed as a rush-of-blood-to-thehead act, Jaaved's new engagement is a muchneeded infusion of blood into the languishing world of documentaries occupied by cashstrapped , earnest filmmakers and artists. It spends between Euro 40,000 and 70,000 on pre-buys or initial funding on two or three acquisitions every year. ARTE France is the French arm of a television network run by the German and French governments.Some big festivals and forums such as IDFA and Sundance have become key centres for matching the flow of ideas with finance. Derks says IDFA, visited by over two lakh viewers every year, receives about a thousand applications of which only 70-80 get through to make four-minute pitches. While such initiatives have invigorated the industry in Europe and the US, the wave has largely left India untouched.
Though the occasional filmmaker does get some public attention, most others are clueless on how to go about converting ideas to film. Audiences want to consume content differently and entertainment masquerading as infotainment has usurped the space held by documentaries and docu-features . With an MBA in international business and some working experience , both from the US and India, Yogesh is trawling the half-lit waters of docs with some innovative ideas and ventures to make life much easier for filmmakers who have to be more creative than their work requires to raise funds and sell their films.
His company has just diverted its attention from marketing popular content and has thrown itself into promoting documentaries with alternative views and critiques of mainstream media and even talent hunt.
It co-organised DOCEDGE 2011, a documentary festival which promotes creative and socially engaged documentary through workshops and intensive training, in Kolkata early this year. He has also supported TriggerPitch, a unique initiative at the 16th International Film Festival in Thiruvananthapuram.
A group of filmmakers were provided with the opportunity to pitch their films to a panel of 10 organisations or individuals capable of channelling their films.
The scenario, according to Rada Sesic, programme advisor of the International Film Festival, Rotterdam, is somewhere between Armageddon and Apocalypse Now.

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