New Delhi: Union Minister Smriti Irani was among the members in Parliament who praised Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Derek O'Brien’s courage to share that he was sexually abused as a teenager and urged people to talk about such experiences instead of repressing them.
The 58-year-old TMC leader backed the proposed amendments to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO Amendment) bill to include death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children.
Smriti Irani, the Minister for Women and Child Development, began her reply to the debate by applauding O'Brien.
"That fact that an MP shared what he faced at age 13...46 years later, tells us what an imprint sexual abuse leaves on a child," the minister said.
"It's very clear where the abuse starts, it starts at home. People, especially in public life, need to talk about this and start the conversation. The more people in public life that speak about the abuse the easier it will be for children to speak up," he said in the Rajya Sabha.
"That's what I want to speak about sir, with a lot of pride, and sadness and hurt, I would like to share -- my family knows and I feel India needs to know -- I was sexually molested as a 13-year-old on a bus in Kolkata after tennis practice wearing short pants and t-shirt, I got on to a crowded bus, I was sexually molested. A man ejaculated on the shorts of this boy. I didn't speak about it. We need to use this forum to reach out to people. The more we talk about it the more children will be saved," the parliamentarian said.
Derek O'Brien said children should be encouraged to speak up and not hide incidents wherein they have been traumatised in this manner.
“With a lot of pride and sadness and hurt but I think India needs to know because my family knows, that on a bus in Kolkata as a 13-year-old after doing tennis practice, wearing short pants and a T-shirt, I got on to a crowded bus and I don’t know who it was, but with my short pants and T-shirt I was sexually molested,” he said....