Vikas (name changed) was sexually abused as a child. He remained silent about it for 30 years but he has now decided to confront the skeletons in his closet and speak out about his ordeal.
"I had gone for an eye check up to a doctor who had been referred to me by my father’s friends. While supposedly checking my eyes the doctor started touching and playing with my private parts. I tried to remove his hand, but he resumed with the touching and it continued when I visited the doctor again," said Vikas.
The incident happened to him when he was 16. Now he is 45, married with two children.
"I didn’t tell anyone about the incident be it my parents, friends or anyone in the eye clinic. What has disturbed me about the incident is that I started thinking of myself as a weak person. I felt that if I told people about the incident, they would think I am weak," said Vikas.
After nearly 18 years of marriage, Vikas finally told his wife about it and then opened up to his friends.
"After sharing my story I learnt that these incidents happen regularly. In a biological perspective, our brain stops working and it’s impossible to react," said Vikas.
There are many such stories where people do not speak about sexual abuse because of social stigma. Aarti (name changed) had hopes of earning a lot of money when she moved to Sonipat when she just 15.
"I was working as a domestic help in Sonipat area I was not allowed to contact my family and I was also beaten up," said the girl.
In 2011 a man proposed to her twice but she refused. "One day when I came to my employers house from the market, that person came and closed the door. He sexually assaulted me and this happened again in 2013,"said the girl.
She did not tell anyone and even contemplated suicide. Her employers too were unaware of the incident. "Boys are never blamed for their mistakes. It’s the girls who are blamed for sexual abuse they face," said the girl.
Anjali (name changed) was sexually abused by a bus conductor and her cousin. Anjali was nine when she realised that she did not like the hugging and kissing or the conductor’s way of coming close.
"I was in 2nd class so you understand the situation of a child when he or she cannot understand immediately," said the girl, adding that she spent six months like that.
One day the girl told her sister about the incident who told her that she will talk to the conductor. "I said no, don’t talk to him, he will threaten me," said the girl.
Finally she complained after which the girl’s best friend came to her and told her off for accusing the conductor. When the girl turned 16 she faced fresh harassment from her cousin when she was sleeping in her house.
"I could not even tell my mother about it," said the girl who is now married and leading a happy life. In all these cases the survivors have said children should be taught how to react and not ignore sexual abuse. RS Chaurasia, chairperson of Bachpan Bachao Andolan, said child sexual abuse is like clipping the flight of childhood.
India has one of the strongest laws against sexual abuse of children in the form of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012. But unfortunately, POCSO had only 1% conviction, 4% acquittal and 95% pendency rate in 2014.