Feelings of guilt, trust issues and inappropriate legal help are some reasons why sexual assault isn’t reported. (Photo: The Quint)
| 4 min read

‘I Was Too Young’: Why Sexual Assaults Are Not Reported in India

“Wouldn’t have made a difference.”
“I did not want to.”
“There are no laws against same sex sexual abuse.”
“I cannot break the family.”

When it comes to sexual assault, especially child sexual abuse, speaking out is not easy. Striking a balance between family relations, dealing with feelings of guilt (“Was it my fault?”), straddling trust issues and looking for appropriate legal help are some of the reasons why survivors of child sexual abuse don’t report their assault.

The Quint in collaboration with ‘How Revealing’, a website aimed at providing a safe space for sharing sexual assault stories, is trying to help survivors to speak out anonymously. To try and understand what stops survivors of sexual abuse from reporting or sharing their experience, here are some narratives.

(Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault)

‘When He Was Done Molesting Me, He Smiled at Me and Pulled My Cheeks and Left’

I was excited to be the first one opening all the windows and the door to my classroom. I was alone. When I was opening a window, the school guard came in. He’d always been friendly so his presence didn’t really bother me. When I turned to open the window, he came up to me from behind and touched my chest and tried to pinch me where he thought my nipple would be. And then he turned my face around with his hand and kisses my lips 3 to 4 times. (sic)
Anonymous

Why I Didn’t Report: “I didn't know what to do. Didn't even tell my mom. Until few months ago. I'm 22 now.”

‘The Feeling Is "Vulnerable"’

As we entered the wing before the house I was pulled by this man onto the swing on his lap. I tried escaping but he held me tight and felt me below. The rest of the crowd of his were aware and laughing. I just knew it was wrong. couldn’t inform anyone. (sic) 
Anonymous

Why I Didn’t Report: “I was too young. ”

‘Sexual Assault in College’

She takes me to the men’s loo and starts frisking me. She put her hand inside my Kurta and leggings and touched my breasts. After she was done she said “I was doing my job”. I was shocked and unable to react. 
Anonymous

Why I Didn’t Report: “There are no laws against same sex sexual abuse. Also because I identify as a queer woman, my claim that I was molested by a woman was invalidated.”

‘My Friend's Mom’

I was 23 then. I went to a friend’s home. Her father was a cancer patient of 7 years. His age was 70 and his wife (my friend’s mom) was 45. I was sitting on a chair in their home. My friend had gone to a shop. It was then that her mother came close to me. She started kissing me on my lips
Anonymous

Why I Didn’t Report: “Wouldn't have made any difference .”

‘I Felt Dirty and Unclean’

I was four years old. My family was very wealthy, so I lived in a huge house. One of the servants was a nice man who always played with me and gave me sweets. I used to go to his room and play. He was like an uncle to me. One day, he made me take off my clothes and rubbed his penis against my vagina. I was horrified because I knew it was wrong.
Anonymous

Why I Didn’t Report: I did not want to.”

‘My Uncle Abused Me When I Was 13’

I was abused (by) my uncle in my house when i was 13, while my parents and aunt were taking afternoon naps in there respective rooms. I was just sitting on the sofa and watching TV, when this man came and started touching me inappropriately. I always thought him to be a great man. (sic)
Anonymous

Why I Didn’t Report: “I cannot break the family ”

If you have experienced sexual assault, you can choose to share your experience with How Revealing here, either anonymously or otherwise below. If you have any ideas about why sexual assault isn’t reported, please reach out to us on Twitter or comment below.

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