Sitara – Badhte Kadam, Badhti Roshni (Moving Ahead, Shining Brighter)

Meet Sitara, who was sexually assaulted by her stepfather when she was merely 12 years old. After battling ostracization by her family, a difficult justice system and further sexual assault within a forced marriage, her mental health broke down completely, leading to diagnoses of Dissociative Convulsive Disorder and Depression.

CSJ, in collaboration with state stakeholders, not just helped her get legal justice but also followed up regularly on providing mental health support. Our support personnel kept track of her progress and even accompanied her on her therapy sessions. For children impacted by sexual assault and resultant familial abandonment, the road to recovery is not easy. But with the right empathetic support, they can make a turnaround, just like Sitara did. Despite the many mental health challenges, Sitara dedicated herself to her studies, eventually scoring well in 10th and 12th.

From recurring bouts of hospitalisation and self-harm, to speaking in this film as a confident young woman advocating for her rights – Sitara’s is a journey CSJ is proud to have been a part of. Today, Sitara has a job she enjoys and a loving partner.

CSJ’s work with survivors of child sexual abuse often involves ensuring access to mental health services for marginalised adolescent girls.