Sexual abuse against disabled children: Change has to begin in families and in accepting differences, says experts - Hindustan Times
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Sexual abuse against disabled children: Change has to begin in families and in accepting differences, says experts

Hindustan Times, Pune | By
Dec 15, 2019 04:53 PM IST

Parents, NGO representatives, lawyers, educators, therapists, psychologists, parents of children with and without disabilities, feminists, conformists, activists and students were present for the discussion Abyaha Living Free Of Fear 2020

PUNE City-based non-government organisations (NGOs) held an open discussion on sexual abuse against disabled children, at the Pune Union of Working Journalist’s office auditorium hall, on Saturday morning. The discussion was led by Ekansh Trust which has been working in the field of sexual violence and assault against disabled children from the past 11 years.

The discussion aimed to help parents reach out to their kids to be aware of their surroundings and stay safe from sexual violence(PICTURE FOR REPRESENTATIVE PURPOSES ONLY)
The discussion aimed to help parents reach out to their kids to be aware of their surroundings and stay safe from sexual violence(PICTURE FOR REPRESENTATIVE PURPOSES ONLY)

Parents, NGO representatives, lawyers, educators, therapists, psychologists, parents of children with and without disabilities, feminists, conformists, activists and students were present for the discussion ‘Abyaha Living Free Of Fear 2020.’

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The discussion aimed to help parents reach out to their kids to be aware of their surroundings and stay safe from sexual violence.

Anita Iyer Narayan, founder and managing trustee, Ekansh, conceptualised the discussion and spoke on rape, molestation, sodomy and introduced the related topics of discussion which were family language, rape, social stigma, gender discrimination and rape law.

“Inclusion will happen when people of different genders and abilities mingle openly from childhood onwards,” said Narayan.

Padma Gokhale, LGBTQI advocate, said, “Change has to begin in families and in accepting and acknowledging differences and the fact that change will begin with a good education. We all have disabilities and inabilities and we need to deal with them to the best of our abilities with respect for all.”

Tehnaz Regi, special educator, running NGO Life Asia, spoke on how she thinks it is necessary to begin with more stories like the Celebrating Differences storybook of Ekansh Trust which speaks of pwd (persons with disability) via happy stories – to include stories about the LGBTQI community too. And that we can do more with stories than with lectures and forced drives towards inclusion.

Sonali Dalvi, a celebrity representative of the LGBTQI, spoke about her experiences growing up. Describing a tragic story of one of her friends who was gang-raped, she said that the law does not specify rape laws in case of transgender victims. She also ruled the fact that the punishment for rape of a transgender is not the same as that of a woman. She said, “It is as if we are not even humans. As the law only describes men and women, there is a law for rape against animals too, but not for us. This dehumanisation is hurtful not only to the community but also to society at large.”

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