Shadow Pandemics behind COVID-19 is a podcast that seeks to raise awareness about child sexual exploitation which has increased during the pandemic. Child sexual exploitation has always been there; however, it has is under reported or undocumented. There is evidence on the ground such as the increase in teenage pregnancies during the pandemic that depicts that there is a lot of child sexual violence happening behind closed doors. Children are neglected and continue to suffer sexual abuse putting them at risk of sexual transmitted infections, early pregnancies and psychological illnesses. The podcast is set out to capture situations that people should take note of by engaging stakeholders who are already working in the different communities with children and to provide information to assist victims and survivors. The participants come from different backgrounds that include legal, medical and social services.
Usually when talking about sexual violence, it is linked to the abuse of women and girls. The campaign draws out how men and boys are equally affected but because of societal expectations on masculinity, they do not report these cases or seek medical treatment for fear of being viewed by the society as a weak man. While people are worried about the economy and political situation presented by the pandemic, the podcast seeks to shift the thought process of people to start thinking about how the pandemic is affecting children. It is also making parents conscious of their children’s activities, one of the problems discussed in one of the episodes is how the Internet is presenting a space for sexual exploitation of minors. This information makes parents more interested in their children’s online activities and creates a culture of monitoring children to ensure that they are safe all the time. The podcast wishes to reach a lot of people both parents/ guardians and children, and also organisations who are already advocating to end child sexual abuse.
The podcast is available at: Shadow Pandemics Behind Covid-19