In the eyes of many young women who’ve been sexually harmed, justice means overcoming stigma and shame attached to abuse and moving forward with their lives. To live with a supportive family, and even starting a family of their own. Tara’s story beautifully portrays this new beginning.
Tara was 16 years old when she moved from West Bengal to Delhi to live with her father and his parents. While she slept between her father and uncle, her uncle would molest her.
When children find the strength to disclose sexual harm, many times those closest to them refuse to believe. Tara’s grandmother thought she was lying. Her grandfather beat her up and locked her in a room. After two weeks though, Tara escaped from her father’s home. When a case was reported to police, she was placed in a protective shelter.
Tara longed to return to her village in West Bengal where her mother lived, so she could escape the blame and hostility her father’s family cast on her. The CWC only restored Tara to her mother’s custody after she finished her court testimony, more than a year after the case was registered with police.
Recently, we spoke with Tara and she was excited to share about her new life with her husband and their son who she had delivered a few months before. “One of the most common concerns that girls and their families have post abuse is how it will impact their future in terms of marriage,” CSJ social worker Deborah says. “Tara has been able to cross that barrier.”
Tara had found love and acceptance within her new family, including from her husband’s parents. She had found a new beginning.