When Revathy was 11, she was raped by her grandmother’s partner and she was brave enough to report the crime, to give testimony against the accused. But when her parents died, her grandmother started putting pressure on her to withdraw the case; she said that they needed a man in the house. Scared and helpless, Revathy agreed to recant her testimony, but the judge realised that something was amiss, that the child needed support.
Contacted by the Child Welfare Committee, Counsel to Secure Justice (CSJ) started to provide legal and psychological support to Revathy. It was painstaking work to get the child out of her shell, but slowly Revathy began to open up. The legal team took over her case and not only gave her confidence to tell the truth in court but also secured a compensation of two hundred and fifty thousand rupees compared to the paltry thirty-thousand she’d been given five years ago. As per her wishes Revathy returned to live with her grandmother, but this time she was aware of her options, of the money standing as her security, of CSJ ready to back her up. Today Revathy uses her compensation money for English and Computer Science classes. She tells her grandmother that she doesn’t want to get married right now; that they do not need a man in the house. In Revathy’s own words, CSJ had given her ‘the space to be able to speak her story and to continue to feel safe.’
Nearly fifty-three percent of children in India report some form of sexual abuse and majority of the abusers were known to the child, in a position of trust and responsibility. Seventy-seven percent of these children did not report the matter to anyone. The overall conviction rate for child sexual abuse cases in India is less than thirty percent. CSJ has provided legal and psychosocial support to nearly six hundred children in India using its survivor centric approach.
In an ideal world there would be no Revathys, but the next time a girl suffers abuse in the hands of trusted family member, we would like for her to know that she has options, that she will be protected and provided with a safe space to tell her truth. Join Us in the effort to help empower children like Revathy. With your contribution CSJ can continue to work to create a support system so that they can build a secure and happy life, with or without their families.