Wamika is one among many survivors of child sexual abuse, who seek to escape the stigma associated with child sexual abuse by staying away from their families and communities. Read her story of homecoming and a hope to someday heal.
In July this year, we received a distressed call from one of our children, Bipin. We have been working with Bipin from when he was in a correctional facility for children in 2018. A family dealing with years of trauma caused by domestic violence and poverty, our work with them has continued over the years, providing psycho-social support and restorative dialogues between each other.
Tina first came to the shelter home when she was 11 years old. Scared and uncertain of what the future held for her. Over the last eight years Tina been able to go to school, make new friends and heal from the trauma she faced. This year, as she turned 19, she began the next phase of her life. A new beginning, filled with hope, joy and love.
On the 6th of August, Binita and her family put up their food stall for the first time in five months. For many years now, every evening, without fail, Binita’s mother and elder brother put up a small stall outside a sweet shop in a crowded settlement colony in Delhi. They cook and sell chowmin, momos and other food items which they prepared for in their one room house during the day. On the 22nd of March, this daily routine and only source of income, came to a halt.
As a counselor who works on the ground, Kshipra’s work mainly involved visiting children in the observation home or in their homes. Travelling to meet the children was an integral part of her job, which came to a halt with the lock down. Read her account of reconnecting with the children and their families, what the lock down meant for many children and the hope she finds in the connections she builds with the children .
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.
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.
Why do we use the word survivor for a person who has faced sexual violence? We often hear of a debate around the terminology of ‘victim’ or ‘survivor’, and whether the latter devalues the victims who don’t survive sexual violence. ‘Why do civil society organisations get broiled in these semantic battles?’, some of you may have wondered. Today I would like to explain to you with an example. Why to us, she is a survivor and not a victim.
Growing up in a volatile household which is constantly under the shadow of domestic violence can weigh heavily on a child. 13-year-old Bipin has grown up with a violent and an alcoholic father who would frequently assault his wife, Bipin’s mother, brutally. The assaults would often render her bed-ridden for months.
Nafisa is a fifteen-year-old girl who studies in the tenth grade and loves to draw. She is strong, vivacious and kind. And she is on a difficult path to healing from sexual violence perpetrated against her, by her biological father.