Stigma, ridicule, harassment, fear
For children and their families, coming forward about sexual abuse is hard. In many of CSJ’s cases, when the surrounding community learns about sexual abuse, victims and their families must carry an unjust and heavy burden. They are ridiculed and treated as outcasts. Some are forced to shift homes.
Then there’s the difficult step of reporting sexual abuse to police. Victims and their families begin a long, rough journey towards justice. Even worse are the repercussions when the abuser has connections to influential people in the community, like in Bandhu’s case.
“I cannot sleep at night because of constant fear of an attack,” says Bandhu.
Looking Bandhu in the eyes and hearing him speak, it’s impossible not to be inspired by his story. Bandhu has been approached with bribes to throw Pari’s case at least two times. He’s been threatened, beaten up, had false charges filed against him and people in the community have turned against him. For a time, Pari was temporarily taken from him—shifted to a protective shelter that provided greater security.
While Pari is back home now, Bandhu’s fears remain; they are a nagging presence that erode his spirit. “She is under a lot of stress and is unable to focus on her studies, due to which I am worried,” Bandhu says. “But I am more worried about her safety. I have a constant fear that someone may abduct Pari.”
Stigma, ridicule, harassment, fear. Despite Bandhu’s hardships, he unswervingly pursues justice. Where does this resolve come from? It flows from his deep love for his daughter and his desire for Pari to have a better life than him.
What can you do? Join the Lend a Hand campaign. No matter where you are right now, you can give Bandhu an encouraging word.
Remember three things:
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