One year ago today...

Bandhu remembers

Do you remember what were you doing one year ago? Bandhu does. On 29 August 2013, his daughter Pari did not return home from school.  Bandhu pushed his bicycle with a discoloured frame and rusted handlebars out of his modest home.  He pedaled along the dirt roads in his community and searched for her.  Later that evening he found her: Pari was sitting alone near the local police station, shivering with fear.  Her rapists had dumped her there.

Bandhu’s relentless pursuit for justice is uncommon.  He has refused bribes, threats and pressure within the community to throw the case.  People warn him that proceedings will take years and his family won’t be able to move forward with their lives; that Bandhu will lose his money and his children will not be able to go to school.  “Even if I have to face financial crisis, I would beg for my daughter so she can go to school,” Bandhu says.  “Even if I have to die, I want to make sure she gets justice.”  

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Bandhu's hardships

Bhagwan_bedroom_and_bicycle.jpgStigma, 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.
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CSJ starts Lend a Hand campaign on 2nd birthday

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Support Bandhu and send words of encouragement

Goal: Raise Rs. 6 lakh ($10,000) by August 31, 2014

Today marks CSJ's 2nd birthday.  While we celebrate CSJ's achievements the last two years, more importantly we reflect on the inspiring people we serve, because their lives give meaning to the work we do.

For the rest of August we'll share the inspiring story of Bandhu and his struggle for justice after his 15-year old daughter Pari was raped.  It's a story of courage, resilience and deep love for Pari--a universal love fathers have for their daughters--and it fuels Bandhu's steadfast search for justice and a better future for Pari.

We need your help.  We want to raise Rs. 6 lakh ($10,000) to support Bandhu, Pari and others like them during confusing and lonely times.  

We need you to do three things:

1)  Donate or make a pledge to CSJ

-  Within India - pledge a donation here.  
-  Outside India - donate here.
-  We'll keep everyone updated on our goal on this blog.

2)  Post a note of encouragement

-  Write an encouraging word to Bandhu and his family.
-  Post your note at the bottom of the campaign page OR 
-  Comment on a Lend a Hand campaign post on CSJ's Facebook page.  
-  If you donate, we'll translate and share your note to Bandhu and his family.

3)  Spread the word about the campaign

-  Share about this campaign to your friends and family via email or social media.  
-  Our fundraising goal is ambitious. Help us grow our community to make it possible.

When we reach our Rs. 6 lakh goal, a CSJ supporter will make a Rs. 6 lakh matching donation!

Many stories have been written about rape in India since the December 16, 2012 gang-rape and eventual death of Nirbhaya, which sparked outrage around the world.  But the journey we'll take will give deeper insight into the injustices that dark forces of violence and prejudice pose in impoverished communities like where Bandhu and his family live.  

Let's start with Bandhu sharing his story in his own words...

(names changed to protect identities)

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