Purnima – A Familiar Story of Child Sexual Abuse & the Fight After
According to a survey conducted by World Vision India, one in every two children in our country is a victim of child sexual abuse.
Purnima Govindarajulu, now a conservation biologist based in Canada, was sexually abused as a child. From when she was ten years old, to when she finally mustered the courage to say ‘NO’ at the age of thirteen, Purnima was molested repeatedly by her uncle.
Over the years, she worked through the trauma and built a successful career of doing what she has always loved to do – work with animals, in the field of conservation. But it was her struggle, and ultimate triumph over her guilt that followed the abuse, that is one of her crowning achievements.
In 2016, heeding her gut feeling that her molester hadn’t stopped abusing children, and that he continued to abuse her nieces and other children in the family, Purnima returned to India to file a complaint. She came armed with a detailed Incident Report, that the Canadian police took down, as if the incident had happened on Canadian shores. It was only after she arrived in India that she realised the problem with the POCSO Act and the statute of limitations regarding a timeframe within which the complaint was to be filed.
Simply put, it is currently not possible for an adult to file a complaint against sexual abuse she was subjected to as a child.
It is to remedy this that Purnima keeps shuttling between Canada and India, in an effort to move political intent and bring about a change in the legislature. This is what her campaign on Change.org seeks to achieve.
Maneka Gandhi, Woman and Child Welfare Minister, and MP Kanimozhi have both extended their support for Purnima’s cause.
Self-loathing, depression, suicidal tendencies, pressure and negativity from family, helpless judiciary; Purnima has crossed all of these barriers and is ready for more, to realise her goal – to make child sexual abuse a thing of the past, for the children of the future.
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