From survivor to leader: My journey

I am many things. I am a professional, a movie buff, a traveller, a daughter, a friend. I am also a child sexual abuse survivor. At age 10, I was abused by an elder man known to my family. It took me two decades to understand and trust that this experience does not define who I am, even though it played an important role bringing me to where I am today.

Restorative Practices and Gandhi – Some thoughts and an exciting announcement

The 2nd of October 2019 marked the 150th birth anniversary of the global leader for peace, Mohandas Gandhi. He was a leader who redefined the language of struggle and revolution through his two non-negotiable guiding principles – truth and non-violence. Today, more than ever, the increasingly violent post-modern, post-truth world needs a reminder, and a re-set, to examine the validity of these ideals, especially in the context of how we understand crime and punishment.

Introducing the 2019 True Justice Campaign

Starting today, you will be reading stories of how children and families who go through heart-wrenching despair find hope to be resilient, to seek justice, and to heal. The True Justice Heals campaign seeks to raise $25,000 (INR 17 lakh), to help support child victims of sexual abuse and child offenders who want to make amends in their pursuit of healing and justice.

True Justice is Sharing Truth | Bhoomi’s* story

After an argument with her stepmother, 15-year-old Bhoomi* visited her upstairs neighbor and friend. He persuaded Bhoomi to leave her family and meet his friends. “I’ll keep you happy,” he said. Then he sent her with a friend to another house.

Bhoomi’s voice wavers as she comes to this part in the story. She first told the police that the boy and ma’am in the house gave her a powder for her headache. After that, Bhoomi passed out. She regained her senses with the boy pinning her down and sexually assaulting her.

True Justice is Accountability | Lily’s* Story

Lily* was nine when a stranger in her neighborhood raped her. While she was taking her younger sister to urinate outside near her home, a man approached and asked them to come to a secluded jungle area. The man seemed nice and said he was their neighbor’s uncle. He offered to buy Lily biscuits, so she she went with him and sent her younger sister home.

But then the man took out a blade. He threatened Lily until she took her clothes off.

True Justice is Participation | Laxmi’s* story

Seventeen-year-old Laxmi’s* hands and legs trembled the day she entered a Delhi trial court to testify against her father, who had raped her repeatedly. But by the time she sat before the judge, her fear had turned to anger.

Her mother seated herself beside Laxmi. “Why are you doing this?” her mother asked. “You will ruin everything if you do this.”

For so long, Laxmi thought that if no one would listen to and believe her story, at least her mother would. She was wrong. Her mother continued to support her father instead. Known as a quiet girl who speaks in soft, low tones, Laxmi found her voice that day in court.

True Justice is Safety | Rhea’s* story

When your own home is not safe, where do you go?

When CSJ met 13-year-old Rhea*, she was trapped in a cycle of family violence. The first time her father raped her was during summer when, to stay cool, the whole family slept on their home’s concrete floor. Rhea tried to scream, and her father pushed his hand over her mouth.

He threatened to kill Rhea and her mother if they told anyone. Her mother had already endured years of beatings, and sometimes Rhea’s father hit her too.