I came across this talk by Sunitha Krishnan at TEDIndia through this post at IndiaUncut. Sunitha, who was gang-raped at the age of 15, now works towards rescuing victims of sex slavery; and she has rescued more than Three Thousand girls and women till date, often at great risk to self and colleagues in the form of violence from traffickers. This talk is about her fight against this lowest form of human abuse. I'm embedding the video here.
WARNING: This video has a few graphic slides and is Not Safe For Work. Moreover, it is pretty hard-hitting.
The take-away for me from the speech was the point that Sunitha put forth so forcefully towards the end of her talk – and that is this: The biggest hurdle to rescue and rehabilitation of people who have been sexually exploited; is the so-called “Civil Society”. A society which, keeping with it's notorious trend of hypocrisy, refuses to accept a victim of sexual abuse. A society that completely cuts itself off from a victim of sex slavery. A society that only further victimises the victim.
Is it so hard to realise that the girl was raped, trafficked or enslaved for no fault of hers? Is it so difficult to digest the fact that she has as much a right to lead a normal life post the incident as any of us? Is showing some compassion for such victims really such an unthinkable proposition?
I've written a couple of posts previously on this topic, but I have only been harping on the “raising awareness” part, but not been doing anything. Here is my chance to really do something about this. I have decided to implement what Sunitha appealed to us to do in the video – talk to people about this; get them to change their mind-set, get them to accept rescued women in mainstream life – in jobs, as household help.
Supporting Sunitha in this fight does not necessarily mean going out and rescuing girls. What she needs from us is a far more challenging task and that is to change the way our “civil society” treats the victims. Let us resolve to start sowing the seeds of change in this regard.
Looking forward to a society where the victims; not the criminals; feel safe and welcome!
Edited to add:
My previous posts on this topic: