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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Rape Victim in India is an inter personal violence issue worldwide

As the world media focuses on the death of the woman in India who was gang raped, they may focus on two themes - the outrage in India which is leading to large scale public demonstrations and on the charges against the alleged assailants which may lead to the death penalty.

One hopes that the many protests will, however, cause a larger discussion about the role of sexual abuse in India. I have done some volunteer work there around the issues of child protection and sexual abuse. The official statistics in India are that 53% of children will be sexually abused. This may be the biggest story that should now become the focus of attention. It is a discussion of what has become too normal. Challenging the status quo such that sexual abuse of any person in India should be seen as wrong. This is an opportunity to bring to the national stage this very large discussion.

It is also a discussion of the remarkably few resources that exist in India to heal. I am impressed with the organizations that do exist such as the Tulir Centre for Prevention and Healing of Sexual Abuse located in Chennai. But they do not have the supports they need. Indeed, I am advised that there is a real shortage of skilled therapists to help with those who have been abused and those that abuse. Creative approaches are needed (An example is the wonderful ideas of Vikram Patel which can be hear in his TedTalk.

But there should be no nation that sits in judgment of India. For interpersonal violence is an international concern. We need only look at Sandy Hook in the United States where a shooter in a rampage killed children and adults. Then there is Amanda Todd who committed suicide after taunting bullying. Or how about Phoenix Sinclair, the Aboriginal child in Canada who died at parental hands? The point is, that this sexual assault in India should be seen as an incident of world wide inter personal violence that needs to be addressed by all of us.

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