Drawing Out the Truth: Navni's Story

hands_lower_res.jpgFrom April 6-30, we're telling stories of women and children we help to show what True Justice looks like. We hope to raise $50,000 to help more children like Navni.

Eighteen-year-old Navni* was walking into her community toilet in the afternoon when a boy snuck in and assaulted her. Navni screamed and kicked. He covered her mouth with a handkerchief and forced himself on her.

Immediately after, Navni went home and told her mother what happened. But Navni couldn’t remember all the details of the abuse, a common effect of trauma. In addition, Navni has a mental disability.

Sometimes what victims like Navni need most is for those closest to them to know the truth about the abuse, believe them and acknowledge what happened.  Counsel to Secure Justice provides a safe place for children and their families to speak without fear of stigma and helps them establish the facts of their abuse.  We prepare children to testify so they have the opportunity to speak the truth in court about what happened to them.

Navni recognized the accused in a police line-up, and he was sent to a juvenile detention center. Then a Child Welfare Committee, a government body, referred Navni’s case to CSJ.

CSJ social worker Nikita helped Navni prepare for her testimony in court. Initially Navni didn’t remember what had happened and took a long time to answer questions. With Nikita’s help, Navni became more comfortable remembering the abuse and by the time of her testimony, she could speak the truth.

The judge was sensitive to Navni’s disability and encouraged her with easy questions first and praises. “You’re very bold,” he told Navni.

Nikita’s presence also encouraged Navni’s mother to be confident.

Nikita informed Navni’s mother about how to file for compensation, to pay for transportation expenses she had incurred to visit court hearings. Navni’s mother spoke with the court authorities and received a reimbursement the same day.

“Since she’s differently-abled and people stare, I don’t feel comfortable going out in public with [Navni],” her mother said to Nikita. “But since you were there, I had courage to speak to people.”

 To help more women and children like Navni and her mother, donate to the True Justice campaign today.

*Name changed to protect identity.

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