If you are silent to rape committed by your relative, you are promoting a criminal: Sunitha

It is important to break silence and speak out against acts of crimes that occur in a family. It is the silence that has led to more and more rapes, Sunita Krishnan, co-founder of Prajwal, a Hyderabad-based organisation that helps trafficked women, has said.

Speaking at the platinum jubilee celebrations of Bhagini Samaj here on Friday, Ms. Krishnan said the biggest crime that people committed was tolerating crime and violent acts. Injustice and wrongs happened not because of bad people but due to silence of good people. “By being silent you are perpetuating crime. If you are silent to the rape committed by your own relative, you are promoting a criminal, who will then continue with his acts victimising other women,” she said.

Reading a report about the rape of a three-year-old girl made people sad. “But we forget about it when we keep the newspaper aside. This is bad tolerance. It is this attitude that has led to more and more incidents of rape,” Ms. Krishnan said. The least people could do was to break silence on such issues. “You need not be like Medha Patkar. But when you start breaking silence, you can beat every evil in life,” she said.

Ms. Krishnan said her gang rape at the age of 16 gave her the first hand experience of exclusion, ostracisation, and scorning that victims of rape faced. That incident changed her. “Now every breath of mine will be for women who are sexually and criminally exploited.” She said every 10 minutes a three-year or a four-year-old girl was being sold to men, who sexually exploited the child.

Ms. Krishnan said her organisation was working for 7,000 children of women engaged in prostitution. The organisation was also providing training for victims of sexual exploitation that helped them work in top-end hotels and business establishments. Ms. Krishnan spoke about the challenges in making rescued victims lead a normal life. Her organisation had rescued 7,800 women, she said.

President of South Canara District Central Cooperative Bank M.N. Rajendra Kumar, chairman of Alva’s Education Foundation Mohan Alva and Bhagini Samaj president Vajra Rao spoke. Prabha Adhikari, professor, Kasturba Medical College, released a souvenir to mark the platinum jubilee of the samaj.

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