Petition to Maneka Gandhi, Maneka Gandhi
Stop repeat offences by child molesters. Allow adult survivors to report childhood abuse
I was sexually abused by my cousin’s husband when I was a little girl. I would wake up at night to find him sitting next to me in the dark. He would put his hands and mouth on my private parts. I would lie there, terrified and disgusted. I was so ashamed and confused that I told no one about the abuse. It continued till I turned 13. It was only as an adult that I realized what had happened to me. I also realized that I was not alone. Many child molesters are repeat offenders. They continue to abuse young children over decades. This meant that many of my young cousins and nieces were in danger. So I gathered courage and spoke to my family about it. My story was immediately confirmed by another cousin. She too had been abused by the same man. I decided to stop my molester from abusing more children by filing a complaint against him. But the police did not know of a law or legal route that they could use to allow an adult survivor to file a complaint about childhood abuse. I felt helpless and powerless. I could take no action against my molester, I could not prevent him from committing more abuse if he wanted to. But, I’m not willing to give up. That’s why I started this petition asking the Government of India to allow adult survivors to file complaints about childhood abuse. Sign my petition. It’s unrealistic to expect young children to walk to a police station and file a complaint about abuse. As a child I did not even know what was happening to me. I thought this was my fault, and I didn't even realize that I could go to an adult for help. I could only stay silent. But, I am an adult now, and I should have support and legal means to stop my molester from potentially continuing his offences on other children. Unfortunately, my story is not unique. What I have written about happens to many many children. There are many adults like me who are carrying the burden of childhood abuse. We need your support. To get justice for ourselves and protect other children from abuse. Sign my petition and appeal to the Indian Government to allow adult survivors of child abuse to file complaints.
Petition to Girish Chandra Murmu, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Ghulam Ahmad Mir, Ravinder Raina
Introduce ‘Personal Safety Education’ in School Curriculum to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
I have been working on raising awareness about child sexual abuse in Jammu and Kashmir since early 2016. Nine out of ten people, I usually speak to, deny the occurrence of child sexual abuse in Kashmir. The response I am most familiar with is that ‘child sexual abuse doesn’t happen in Kashmir.’ However, according to a study conducted by Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD), 53% of children across 13 states of India were sexually abused in 2007. I fail to understand that if child sexual abuse doesn’t happen in Jammu and Kashmir then how did Kathua rape and murder take place? In fact, it was the brutal rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua, which prompted the Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet to pass an ordinance on Protection of Children from Sexual Violence Ordinance (POCSVO) in April 2018. Similarly, on the other side of the border, the brutal rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl prompted the Government of Punjab in Pakistan to announce plans to introduce ‘Child Abuse Awareness’ in their school curriculum. Undoubtedly, child sexual abuse is quite prevalent in our society, yet we wait for incidents like Kathua and Punjab to happen before taking any much needed preventive measures to address such issues. My question is very simple: Can we not act proactively and come up with solutions to prevent social evils like child sexual abuse beforehand? It is very important to understand that child sexual abuse scars a child for a lifetime and the healing process in such cases is very slow. Our Judiciary doesn't help either because the lengthy trials only lead to re-victimisation of a child/adult who dares to speak up against his or her childhood abuser/s. Therefore, I want the Government of Jammu and Kashmir to introduce a comprehensive ‘Personal Safety Education Program’ in our school curriculum to address child sexual abuse at its roots. Our children must be made aware about what’s 'safe touch' and what’s 'unsafe touch' from a very young age, in addition to sensitising the teachers and parents in our respective societies about this serious issue. It is time to overcome the myths and social stigma attributed to sex education. Please sign my petition and join me in saving thousands of children from falling prey to child predators in Jammu and Kashmir.
Petition to President Moon Jae-In, South Korea, Ministry of Justice, South Korea
Justice for Jeong-In: End child abuse!
Jeong-In, a 16 month old infant was murdered by her adoptive parents after being abused by them. There were signs of abuse in the form of scars, malnourishment which were covered by blatant lies by these so called parents. Jeong-In appeared in a television show where foster parents could adopt a potential child and she did find a loving home at first, until she went to her adoptive parents' custody. There, this little baby faced so much abuse, that even an adult could not go through. There were scars on her body which when brought to police attention, the parents attested that it was due to their "corrective massage while teaching her how to bow" and that the scars were due to eczema, which she didn't have. During a routine check-up, the doctors alerted the parents of malnourishment, but this too was countered with claims that "Jeong-In wasn't eating properly" and that she is "fussy". All of this were taken easily by the officials, which eventually led to the death of this poor angel. This isn't your country's issue, I know. But this is an issue of child abuse and neglect, which led to the death of a poor little girl who had an entire life ahead of her. This bud was snipped before it could bloom. That's why, I ask you for your help to bring these perpetrators to justice.
Petition to Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani
Implementation of Abuse Education in Schools
Child abuse includes acts of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. It is estimated that about half of all children who are abused are of school age. Globally, it is estimated that up to 1 billion children aged 2–17 years have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in the past year (As of 8 June 2020). The consequences of abuse can be profound for its victims, including physical and/or emotional injury, difficulty in building healthy relationships, and increased likelihood of engaging in child abuse as an adult. Understanding the approach to take in domestic violence education is a matter of understanding the difference between prevention and intervention. The key difference in prevention happens before exposure to domestic violence, while intervention seeks to address existing cases of domestic violence in the students' relationships either at school or at home. Teachers and other school staff bear a special responsibility in helping to identify child abuse. Because they spend much time with students, they are often in a position to observe physical or behavioral changes suggesting a possible problem. As a result, they play a key role in detecting child abuse and should be trained to do the same. Lack of adequate training hinders teachers' ability to detect all types of abuse, but it may especially impair their ability to recognize sexual abuse since most victims manifest no obvious external signs. Abuse is a reality that can and should be talked about with children. Doing so in classrooms communicates that this is not something that happens to some imagined community different from our own. Craving power and acting cruelly to hold on to it is something we are all capable of. To name it in a classroom is to bring it into the light, where children and adults can examine it together in a supportive climate. Therefore, I sincerely request you to sign this petition to have a chance to implement the change we all want to see, which is the implementation of Abuse related education in all Indian schools along with necessary training of teachers. If you’d like to further read about Abuse Education in Schools, you can read this document that I prepared, it can serve as a great place to start and also has activities that can be used in case you’d like to implement this education in your environment.
Petition to Smriti Irani, Narendra Modi, Rekha Sharma
Domestic Violence During Lockdown: Use Nirbhaya Funds to Support Survivors
The lockdown has placed us all indoors and it is a challenging time for the planet as a whole: and more so for some than others. Though the lockdown has been a much-needed step to contain the spread of COVID-19, it has and can have different impacts on different people mainly because lived experiences, the intersection of several identity attributes, and the different needs and necessities for different people. Reports of a rise in gender-based violence, as survivors are being forced to stay indoors in toxic environments, are coming in from all over the world - a very grave cause for concern. In India, more and more homes are becoming breeding grounds for violence, and those that were already violent have only been aggravated. Seeking help against domestic violence is inherently complicated – and doubly so in situations of this sort because survivors may not be free to move out, may fear reprisals, may be silenced by extended members of family, or may even be immunocompromised. In spite of the obvious correlation between lockdown and domestic violence, there has been no acknowledgement of the issue by the government. Though a WhatsApp helpline has been set up recently, there isn't much information available about its functioning or mandate. Also, there isn’t any planning towards providing safe spaces for victims of domestic violence to stay during the lockdown. Travelling requires going through bureaucratic police permission procedures which makes it difficult to leave for a safer location, such as natal homes, on short notice. Public transport facilities have been stopped completely. The added mobility constraints to an already precarious situation close the exit options that were previously available. These constraints in terms of redress coupled with the compulsion to remain in the home with abusers for an extended period of time makes the lockdown a terrifying and nearly fatal situation for victims across the country. Survivors of violence encounter unique experiences that shape and inform their needs: while some may need immediate rescue and evacuation owing to the seriousness and grave danger involved in the situation, some may feel the need to find an empathetic ear to just be heard. Making a national helpline operational and functional, and staffing it with empathetic and trained personnel (who can observe social distancing and other COVID-19 contagion prevention measures) can go a long way in saving lives under lockdown. In light of this reality, we call upon the government to, on an urgent basis, use the Nirbhaya Funds toward: - Equipping the current helpline so that it can be fully functional and operate nationwide, with trained staff to respond to crisis calls from survivors. - Create widespread awareness about it via ads and announcements in English, Hindi, and regional languages Sign and share the petition.