I am a blessed person as I have the honor of meeting the worst to the best men in my personal and professional life.
Rescuing thousands of women and children from sexual slavery, I have heard millions of stories of brutality of men. Buying sex from a anonymous person gives so much of freedom and guts to do whatever your sadist minds can fantasize. From pouring chilli powder into the vagina, burning with cigarettes, cigars to tying to a bedpost and whipping anything and everything is possible in paid sex. I always thought in a marriage or in a love relationship a lot of restrain is exercised. Today that too is shaking. The whole of this week I was dealing with a case of "date rape", the young man raped the girl so brutally that her vagina was completely torn(needed stitches to patch it) and she was bleeding profusely. In my own personal life being gang raped by eight men had its own nightmarish impact on my body if not my soul.
On the other hand I have also met the best of the best men on the planet. Starting with my father who was my strength throughout my childhood and as a young adult. He encouraged me to follow my heart never imposing any personal dreams as expectation in spite of the fact that I was his favorite child and had all the qualities to make his dreams come true. In my early twenties I met my mentor and friend Bro Jose who was instrumental in guiding me to establish the proactive intervention 'Prajwala'. Bro Jose was an example to all the victims we rescued that all men are not abusers. And then I met Rajesh my soul mate and husband. A secure man whose greatest happiness is the growth of his wife. Words are inadequate to explain the extraordinary role Rajesh is playing in strengthening my activism and my interventions. One day when I was fed up with the non stop threatening calls I was getting I asked Raj 'if I am killed by these people what will you do?' The answer I got " It will be an honor for me if you are killed while rescuing a child"
After seeing and understanding the best and the worst I am more and more realizing that there is a need to bring all the best together and create a counter movement to reduce or better still eradicate the worst.
My faith was further reinforced and got a new direction with an incident that happened in my recent US trip. After my presentation to a group 200 Indians and Americans I found one gentleman giving me strange stares. After all the participants left I found this man still sitting there. And then reluctantly he came to where I stood. Automatically I stretched my hand for a shake hand and a thank you at the tip of my tongue( that is what I was doing for the better part of one hour). The man held my hand and broke down...I was bewildered and confused.And then softly he said "I have raped a lot children...I went to Combodia and Srilanka for them" I was numbed, no words would come out...how does one react to such a statement. In silence I held his hand...and slowly I told him to seek help. For four days I tossed and turned, my sleep lost with this strange incident. For years I had held only anger and bitterness against all perpetrators and now I have one who is seeking my energy to heal him, what does one do? And then he sent a mail sharing with me how his father started sexually abusing him from the age of 4yrs and how by the time he was 7yrs he started enjoying the abuse and by the age of 15yrs became a powerful person in the household of eight as he was his father's pet. In his adult life he wanted to recreate the same pleasure and that is how he started abusing little kids. His obsession took him to Combodia and to Srilanka where he bought little boys for sex.
This incident transformed me forever, for the first time I realized that maybe working with perpetrators is also a tool for prevention.
On 28th March 2011 we launched Men Against Demand(M.A.D) and today I am hoping that even perpetrators can be sensitized and inspired to join the movement.
For all the wonderful men reading my blog please pledge your support for the movement by signing http://www.facebook.com/pages/Men-Against-Demand/157785290948568, We need your support to fight this battle and more to come.