‘It Is a Big Deal’: A Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse Speaks Up
Purnima Govindarajulu was sexually abused as a child by her cousin’s father. From the age of 10 to 13, every day and every night, she was violated numerous times at an age when she didn’t even know what she was going through.
She relocated to Canada when she was around 19, and is now a 53-year-old biological conservationist (scientist). Over the years, through counselling, she worked through her guilt and the trauma that she suffered as a child.
Purnima revealed the identity of her molester as an adult to her family, in the hopes that it would help protect her nieces and other children in the family. When she realised this had no effect, she tried to file a case against her molester in 2016.
It was then that she realised that despite the new POCSO act, which is meant to protect children against sexual abuse, she could not file a case against her molester as an ‘adult’ survivor of child sexual abuse.
She is now an activist, who seeks to change the laws to remove the statute of limitations. She also acts a voice for those who haven’t found theirs yet.
People say it’s not a big deal. But it is a big deal. It leaves an impact on you. It doesn’t mean you can’t live a full life. But don’t let people minimise the anguish you felt.
Purnima urges survivors to seek help. She says survivors should break the silence only when they want to and not given in to the pressure to speak up when they are not ready to talk about it.
Purnima’s petition on Change.org, and her meeting with the Women and Child Welfare Minister, Maneka Gandhi, has received positive attention. Maneka Gandhi has responded to the petition, and Kanimozhi, Rajya Sabha MP, who accompanied her, followed up with a video pledging her support.
Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam and Purnendu Pritam