The POCSO Center- A Center for justice for survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
(POCSO is the short form for "Protection of Children from Sexual Offences" Act, a law that was enacted in India in 2012)
Physically and psychologically distant from mainland India, the history of the northeastern State of Assam has been analogous with narratives of conflict, natural calamities and large scale migration. This situation has increased the vulnerability of children in affected areas specially in tea garden, river bank areas and hill areas.
We have been working on child sexual abuse since 2011 and the horrifying tales of survivors can move even things inanimate.
14-year old Naina (name changed) had been raped 12 times by her employer in Guwahati city. While she is recovering from her trauma in a closed Children's Home for the last 4 years, the perpetrator is studying in New Delhi, going to the best of restaurants, watching the best of movies. Naina can hardly believe that she would see any justice at the end of it.
11-year old Madhabi (name changed) is deaf and dumb. She runs into the child care unit thrice everyday in the State Home for Women. No, she isnt going there for heathcare support. She goes into the unit to see the baby she had given birth to last month. Madhabi was raped by a 60-year old man in her village in lower Assam. Madhabi awaits as justice seems ever elusive.
16-year old Sunaina(name changed) couldn't bear the pain of those deep wounds on her breasts and her buttocks. As she sees blood trickle down her legs, the only thing she wished was for strict punishment for all the men who had hurt her soul.
Interestingly, in Assam, bails are doled out like free muffins.
UTSAH, has led several campaigns to ensure that the survivors of Child Sexual Abuse(CSA) get necessary support and the perpetrators are booked. In a case wherein a Professor of the Veterinary College Guwahati managed to get an easy bail after sexually assaulting a 14 year old girl child, we roped in the then Miss India Priyadarshini Chatterjee to stand against such practices.
You can see the video here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W22TUsAOy08
Now we are planning to start a specialized Anti-Child Sexual Abuse Center in Guwahati. Through this Center we would provide:
1) Preventive support to children in vulnerable communities
2) Help drafting of FIR's
3) Feedback to the State Police for immediate arrest of perpetrators.
4) Counselling services.
5) High quality legal support through the judicial process.
Since, the programme needs trained personnel, UTSAH requires public support to run this programme effectively. Through the funding we wish to have two qualified case workers, two social workers, one counselor and two legal practitioners on a one-year-contract. Extensive community level preventive campaigns would also be organized.
Our primary aim is to achieve high conviction and help these broken children start anew.
We appeal to everyone to help us in making this programme successful and to generously reach out to us.