Victims of sexual abuse, rape continue to suffer in silence

Government efforts fail to minimise sexual abuse cases in city

Hyderabad: Despite measures initiated by the authorities to help sexually abused women to come out of trauma, and tall claims by the police about the increased safety of women and girls, those who were sexually exploited and physically assaulted continue to suffer in silence due to social stigma and societal pressure.

Fearing the consequences, most women hesitate to share physical and emotional abuse they face not only from people surrounding them but also from their own family members.

Though the government initiated measures for women’s safety by constituting women safety wing, SHE teams, Bharosa centres, special quota in public transport and help lines for women, they seem to be ineffectual in minimising sexual abuse cases in the city.

"Women don't have safety in their own homes. There is a girl who was sexually abused at the young age 11 years by her cousin. She could not trust anyone, not even her father. It took very long for her to get back to normal and trust her own family," said Catherine, a women’s activist.

A female victim, requesting anonymity, said her father had physically abused her when she was in her 11th standard. It was very hard for her to come out of depression. She was under medication for four years.

Another victim Megha (name changed) said it took her a year to come out of the trauma, after she was abused in school. She said the incident was still haunting. "Victims can never come out of it totally. They just try to forget it, which is a painful and depressing process," she added.

Rajini, a psychologist, said, "Sexual abuses have been increasing after the lockdown as people were not socialising. Sudden emotions burst out in various ways like anger, sadness and insanity which in some cases lead to sexual abuse." She said people should be more aware about sexual and emotional abuses and women should raise their voice.

Dr Diana Monteiro, a counselling psychologist, said sexual abuse cases were increasing daily. She said she had treated female adults who were sexually abused at the of age group of 3 years to 5 years and 95 per cent of women were sexually abused by their family members, relatives and close friends.

Psychologists say that moral education is the need of the hour. Any abuse has serious physical and emotional effects on the victims, they add.

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