I was 10 when I was sexually abused. Men who I had dearly trusted had violated me. The violation became a part of my life. It continued.
Later on, as I grew up confused about love, men, and the pain inside me, I realised, what happened to me, was called ‘Child Sexual Abuse.’
The knowing should have freed me. Instead, it sent me deeper into isolation. I carried my world in my head, and for some time it did work in protecting me, but in the process also alienated people around me.
As a filmmaker, stories became my refuge. They moved, inspired, and had the power to bring together strangers.
Over the years, I met many more survivors living a life of penance for a crime they had not committed. One of them was my husband.
“I was sexually abused at the age of 5, by a trusted caretaker. The abuse went on for a month. Most times it lasted for a few minutes. The memories though, live in me forever.”
My husband and I have lived through an extremely painful process of coming to terms with our abuse. His, and the other stories I had heard from friends I knew, made me realise that even men can get sexually abused. Millions of men are living an isolated life of pain endured as children. Then why were their stories never told?
The government’s 2007 study on child abuse reports that a shocking 53.2% of children say they have experienced one or more form of sexual abuse. Of this number, 52.9% are boys. Boys of all ages, and of all backgrounds, across locations and states, report that they have experienced sexual abuse.
It is quite unfortunate that while on one hand, a girl’s sexual abuse is scorned, and looked at as a serious crime, most men are pressurised by society to pass off their sexual abuse as a rite of passage.
Sexual exploitation by older boys is often misinterpreted as Sexual Exploration and hence younger boys feel obligated to hide it.
Many a time, I have also come across people who refuse to believe that boys can get raped.
Men are ridiculed, their sexual orientation is questioned, and the pressure to live up to the façade of society’s macho image, weighs in so heavy, that ultimately the only way out, is to live a life within.
There is hardly any attention given to male child sexual abuse by the government. As a mother of a 17 year old boy, I strongly believe that no male is born aggressive, violent, or insensitive to women. It is an acquired behaviour, learnt from the people around them.
That’s why I started this petition asking the Women and Child Development Minister, Maneka Gandhi to do an in-depth study on male child sexual abuse.
A study on this topic might help us get insights on how we can prevent the use of violence in this society.
It might also help us curb the growth of sexual violence in men at its onset.
Research will help shed light on male mindsets, and certain hidden aspects of the long term effects of sexual abuse on men.
The POCSO laws might merely act as a platform to punish sexual predators, but conviction rates are extremely low.
What about the numerous cases out there, which are not yet addressed? What about the millions of boys, who have lived with the pain, and perhaps gone on to unleash their pain on other helpless victims? Why is it that till date we have invested so much in the cure but so little in prevention?
Sign my petition and ask the Women & Child development ministry to take the first step to end sexual violence against children & *women.