Silent no more: adult survivors speak up to stop the child molesters from repeating their cycle of violence

Purnima Govindarajulu
Posted July 23, 2017 from India

I grew up in southern India and migrated to Canada when I was 21 years old. I am now 53 years old and established as a Conservation Biologist working for the Ministry of Environment in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. However, the story I am here to tell is rooted in India, in my childhood. I am part of the disturbing childhood sexual abuse and incest statistic in India where over 50% of children suffer some form of sexual abuse. I was subjected to severe (as defined by the Government of India study) childhood sexual abuse (CSA) over multiple years by a close family member. This happened within a loving, affluent, well educated family. I did not tell anyone until I was an adult. In the time it took for me to break the silence and even after, my abuser continued to abuse other children. Prompt action when I broke my silence, could have saved at least a few other children from being abused by this person.

I have joined the World Pulse community to make changes in my home country of India, to ensure that fellow childhood sexual abuse survivors have the same support and legal resources as my fellow Canadian survivors. To this end, I am working on establishing a support center for survivors of childhood sexual abuse in my home town of Chennai with the help of a long established survivor support center in Delhi called Recovery and Healing after Incest (RAHI). I am also working with lawyers, policy makers and politicians to amend the 2012 Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to allow survivors over 18 years to file complaints of past abuse. Children are dependent on adults to file complaints and are easily intimidated both by the perpetrators and caregivers into maintaining their silence. Allowing an adult survivor to file complaints of past abuse not only fulfills the ends of justice and healing for survivors, it also enables law enforcement officials to take proactive action and prevent continuing abuse by the same perpetrator.

How to Get Involved

I am looking to connect with other people working on similar issues in India

Comments 4

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ANJ ANA
Jul 24, 2017
Jul 24, 2017

Dear Purnima,

So sorry to hear about your sad suffering while in childhood. Incest is one of the brutal abuse, which lead a survivor to lifelong pain. Good to know that you are working on this issue, lets hope no any single child to suffer the same in their life. good luck to you.

Best regards,

Anjana

Purnima Govindarajulu
Jul 24, 2017
Jul 24, 2017

Thank you so much for your words of sympathy and encouragement. I share your hope that as many children are spared the suffering that I went through and the after effects of the suffering.

Warm regards

Purnima

Jill Langhus
Jul 24, 2017
Jul 24, 2017

Hi Purnima. Welcome to World Pulse:-) Sorry to hear about your story, but it's great that you are inspired to help those women and girls in need. Please do keep us posted on your center that you are creating. I would like to follow it and spread the word about your work and center. I have noticed that you posted that you want to connect with others with similar missions. I would definitely follow/connect with Safecity and Kirthi. You can also post in the "Resources" page/section to try to get others to fund, or support you as well.

Karen QuiƱones-Axalan
Feb 10, 2018
Feb 10, 2018

You are a brave woman, Purnima. I was sexually molested as a child, too. I could not stand it when men abuse helpless little girls. 

I applaud and honor you for the battles you won. Sexual abuse is a global issue. Thank you for taking action. You are an inspiration.