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‘Break the silence on sexual abuse’, says activist

S.R. Praveen
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Says silence to protect family honour will embolden culprits

Sunitha Krishnan, social activist, speaking at a function in Kozhikode.— Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup
Sunitha Krishnan, social activist, speaking at a function in Kozhikode.— Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup

For 16 years now, Sunitha Krishnan, founder of Prajwala, a Hyderabad-based organisation which works for the rehabilitation of sex workers and their children, has been on a relentless pursuit in fulfilment of her life’s mission to rescue and rehabilitate victims of prostitution rings.

Dr. Krishnan, herself a victim of abuse in her teens, has rescued 7,800 girls all these years, paying a price for it in a broken eardrum and broken bones as the mafia tried to silence her. The attacks have only strengthened her resolve, as evident from two fiery speeches she gave in Kozhikode on Monday at programmes organised by women’s organisations.

She exhorted mothers to break their silence in cases of abuse of their children within the family. Pointing to several such incidents in Kerala, she said the silence to protect family honour would only embolden the perpetrators.

“The courage that the perpetrators of such abuse derive from the silence of their family members drives them to commit similar crimes outside their house too. This tolerance of violence should end. Also, those raising their voice should persevere till the abuser is convicted. They should learn to ignore the various voices coming from around asking them to step back,” Dr. Krishnan, who was ostracised by her family for speaking out against abuse during her teens, said.

She asked mothers to instil confidence in their children by asking them to report any incidents of abuse to them. The technological gap between the parents and children needed to be bridged, as online media were being used by abusers and rackets to lure children into their net. The parents should get themselves educated on using those media and understanding their possibilities.

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