Kailash Satyarthi lights a candle before the launch of 'Bharat Yatra' against child abuse. (Reuters)
Survivors of abuse and victims of bonded labour came together to flag off Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi's 'Bharat Yatra' against child abuse on Monday. The quiet Vivekananda Rock in Kanyakumari was drowned in the voices of hundreds of school going children shouting the slogan "Down. Down. Down with child abuse".
"Each time when a child is raped, our conscience, innocence is raped. I am not going to tolerate this. I am going to change this. This is a growing epidemic. We are beginning from India, and India will show rest of the world the path forward," Kailash Satyarthi told NDTV.
The Bharat Yatra
aims to break the silence around child abuse and trafficking. According to official records, only around 53% of boys and 47% of girls report any form of sexual abuse against them in India.
Among those present for the campaign were men like Balwinder (name changed), in his mid 40s, who is still fighting for justice in court against his neighbour, the alleged abuser of his two teenage daughters, who were rescued a year and half ago by the police.
"My neighbour had promised me that if I send my daughters to him to take care of his son; he would ensure their school education. But this man used to sleep with my daughters and would not allow them to meet me. I am here because this must not happen to anyone else", he said.
Another 23 year old woman, Neeta Rai (name changed) was rescued in 2013. She was given all legal help to fight her case in court by Bachpan Bachao Aandolan
. The accused who sexually abused her is now in jail. "These things have been happening since years. Nothing has changed. I saw a 9-year-old girl in Sonipat brutally assaulted. I want to fight this and that's why I am here," Neeta said.
According to crime statistics, the accused in around 95% of abuse cases are known to the victims in India.