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Is home safe for girls?

Is home safe for girls?
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Highlights

Rakesh name changed is a part of the Plan Indias Safer Cities programme that aims to build safe, accountable and inclusive cities, especially for adolescent boys, girls and women The programme strives to increase safety and access to public spaces for women Rakesh related an incident involving his cousin Tina name changed faced

Rakesh (name changed) is a part of the Plan India’s ‘Safer Cities’ programme that aims to build safe, accountable and inclusive cities, especially for adolescent boys, girls and women. The programme strives to increase safety and access to public spaces for women. Rakesh related an incident involving his cousin Tina (name changed) faced.

This is a story of an ordinary family – mom, dad, two kids, who live in Mangolpuri, New Delhi. One fine day Tina told her mother that she was uncomfortable with her father. He had been sexually abusing her for the past few months. In the seconds it took her mother to absorb Tina’s words, her world came tumbling down. At 15, Tina was facing this problem and that was when the first hint of discord arose. Tina and her mother squabbled, like all mothers and daughters. But that day was different.

‘He’s always feeling me up. He brushes against my body, so I know it’s not accidental, but he could persuade someone else it was,’ she later disclosed relating the episode. Tina’s mother was not able to decide what to do? She turned up to Rakesh and his mother who are part of ‘Safer Cities’ and told them about the situation her daughter was going through.

She did not want to go and complain in a police station fearing society. “But I said that if no action is taken, he can repeat the same abuse with the younger daughter as well. They agreed to give complaint and along with me went to police station and her father was punished. Today Tina lives with her mother and sister,” shares Rakesh.

Rakesh is trained at different ‘Safer Cities’ programmes. “Many women or girls never report harassment because of the cultural context they are stepping into, there’s a knowledge and tolerance of sexual harassment that makes women’s journeys through public spaces always a little bit hazardous,” he says.

Victims of sexual assault, abuse and harassment often prefer to keep their victimisation hidden, fearing blame. But if you are a victim, this is a danger to yourself and to others too, who may become the next victims of the sexual harasser and/or abuser. So, we should ensure the person is dealt with, never think about society or what people will say only then can we stop sexual assault.

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