Friday, April 22, 2011

INVOLVING MEN TO BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION

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.

39 comments:

  1. Powerful piece, Sunitha! Your dedication in work inspires me and, I'm sure, so many others. Be strong as you always are.

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  2. Dear mam, i'm frm trvndrum, i met u at my college , NSS COLLEGE FOR WOMEN NEERAMANKARA ,KARAMANA, during your talk about human trafficking. I was totaly upset after seeing Anamika, and hearng experiences of d affctd ladies and kids. But from your speech, i got the mental power to protect myself from teasers. Now i am capable of telng my friends and sisters to react in such kind of harrasing incidents. I used to say everyone proudly that you are my inspiration. I got to know more about you from d magazine 'VANITHA' in a report related to d vanitha Women of The Year award.Today i'm going to be a part of indian airforce. And i'm promising to do whatevr i can do as a responsible citizen to help in Prajwala's mission.

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  3. Hi Sunitha,

    I had written a post on you some time back.

    http://heartbeatsandruns.blogspot.com/2011/01/changing-lives.html

    How you and prajwala is changing lives.This is a genuine cause too. Kindly let me know if I could be of any assistance.

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  4. sunitha chechii,,, ur the best cure for this...

    good luck for your efforts to be the prevention...

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  5. You write wonderful. And hits the target i hope. DO write a book. i shall help you with editing :P which im unsure if you would need.

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  6. I'll be real glad if you could collaborate with the DNA Foundation https://www.facebook.com/dnafoundation :)
    Real eye opener Sunitha. I saw your Ted Talk as well, it was shocking and sensitizing in every aspect.

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  7. This is great work you are doing. Apart from creating awareness, how can people help? Do let us know.

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  8. Hello Sunitha,

    Many would agree with me if I tell you that you are truly an inspiration to many youngsters like myself. To take the pledge is the least any of us could do, but is definitely a start.

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  9. Great work initiated by one of the most empathetic sensitive and always thriving to be of help to people in need.
    Madam ! U never fail to inspire me when ever I read ur views....!!!!
    Proud of u.

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  10. It is Nice thought Ms.Sunitha,definitely involving men could bring change fast.All the Best to you.. I Love you a lot.

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  11. Dr Krishnan,I don't want to write anything here than to say, I pray for you daily. You deserve all the strength in this world..All the best..

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  12. Read about you in newspaper today. So, thought of just going through your blogs. Believe me you sunitha, i haven't read anything more than the first paragraph of this blog while posting this comment. I am feeling infuriated already. Call it my ignorance or naivety, i had no idea whatsoever about the extent of physical suffering in paid sex. I have always had preconceived notions about prostitutes and was dead set against helpless women joining it fer their bare essentials. But the first few lines of your blog made me realise there there must be much more to it than i am aware of. I want to help you in whatever little way possible. I look forward to hearing back from you.

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  13. WOW!!! This is a gaint step forward. Hope Pra'jwala' and your mission would spread like wildfire and clean the world for a better place for the future generations.

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  14. hey i am a 17 year old girl and yesterday only i started writing a blog about prostitution i first saw you in an award show on sony and i have since been your fan....i wasnt raped or anything but i have had 2 incidents in my life which made me sensitive about this issue..more than sensitive i have been angry and disgusted...one of my friend a fellow blogger encouraged me to start writing and posted your speech on sexual enslavement to boost me up! i dont know wether i shud giv u this whole introduction or not but i want to get in contact wid u i just gave my 12th boards and i wish to join your organisation i idolize you and more than that i believe in the cause you are fighting for i want to work for you i am not some crazy stalker fan i just wish to make a change do my part in this world!

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  15. A person who does a wrong act would continue doing it while knowing that bad implications .such people need to be shown a mirror to know the effect of their acts and can be brought back to the normal social behavior..but it needs some forceful power, patience, forgiveness and a kind heart to support them .Just like the man in the blog above. I feel the act of abusing involves two victims - the abuser and the abused.Both need to be rescued ......Good to know mam that now you are rescuing people on either side . thus victory can be closer .. I hope

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  16. sunitha ur name
    then sunni thantal sappuviye

    kritti_kanblue@yahoo.com

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  17. wow Sunitha. This is a powerful article. I don't know how you find the strength to deal with all this every single day of your life. It must take an emotional toll on you. The world needs people like you

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  18. sunitha is ur name????
    then sunni thantal sappuviye?????

    kritti_kanblue@yahoo.com

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  19. In ur TED talk when u said "Victims are victimized"... gosh I was moved to tears.I'm a guy and I should say, children both boys & girls are equally vulnerable to abuse.I know many of my friends (boys), when we were in school and used to travel by bus,know of a person, who manages to sit next to us and do all non-sense. That guy used to corner only small boys of age 8-12. I've seen boys sitting helplessly. I appreciate this person who has realized his mistake.We never knew how to react then.

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  20. Hi Sunitha
    Most girls - by my survey during college hostel days amongst fellow hostellers- atleast 50% have had sex related disgusting experiences. What is missing for most is somebody to talk to. I never told my mother about the incidents but got myself quickly prepared to handle situations. We need to tell our children to fear not - to ask for help from teh next available person. But that is possible only when teh civil society is not afraid to help them. I dont know if things are changing for the good or for the bad...are we getting more blind or is the society getting more open? No solution only vague wishes of a more thinking common man. Ofa better world for the children.
    Lastly, I wanetd to know if teh govt has ANY INITIATIVE at all about this matter?
    I donot have the 2 crores for your girls buildings but I will give as I can and I will try to motivate others.
    Regards

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  21. Hi Sunitha,

    You are one of those I believe even God is proud to have created. I saw TED talk show yesterday night and read your blogs... I am still not back to normal.

    I have following thoughts.
    1. How about " Name and Shame " those people who are corrupt, harass you on your mission, ask you bribes etc. you can put their pic on this blog, name and if possible record what they said to you and post it here... This way they will be some amount of shame to them atleast and they will think before acting like this to others. All of us will also know who are all these hypocrites.

    2. Can you pl. share your experiences with requesting for support for your cause with others like "Mata Amrunandamayi Ashram", Art of Living, Baba Ramdev trusts, Sai baba trust, Shivyog trust, Sudha Murthy (Infosys) etc.
    These have so much support out side India, I am curious to know why on earth these people won't feel like supporting such a Angelic cause.

    May God (or whom ever you trust) Be With You Always.

    Bhadresh.RV@gmail.com

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  22. Hi Sunitha,

    I believe in you and Prajwala. What you are doing is truly remarkable. It is really hard to make some (or many) people believe that short skirt is not a justification for rape.

    My question to you and other women is that, we here and experience a lot about sexual harassment in various degrees in schools and colleges. What should that particular girl do at that very moment whenever she has such an encounter? I want to know this, because when I become a mother, I want to teach my children how to face it. I know this question may sound very common and many people would suggest to take an action. BUT what action? Complain? to whom? Who's trustworthy? May be this is the reason why many of us are very apprehensive about doing something about it.
    I feel this issue of a great concern.

    I have full faith in Prajwala. I would help this cause of yours with whatever is there in my reach.

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  23. Hi Sunitha,

    I watched the TED talk you gave in 2009 and I believe in EVERY WORD you said. I am also from a third world country, Brazil. Like India, in Brazil, we see in the news poor children being raped and abused everyday... instead of shocking us, viewers, we feel that these barbarities are banal to our ears, which SHOULDN'T.

    I am a comic book/story artist. I recently self published a book about a re-tale of Little Red Riding Hood (as a cautionary tale to young girls about child abuse and rape). You can check it in my website. I would love to help your organization with anything... illustrations, illustrated stories for children.... I wanna collaborate to OUR cause (this cause should be everyones, not yours or mine, but OURS)!

    I just want to say your are a beautiful human being! Thanks for sharing and working to help other women like me and you out there!

    I am sorry for the broken english since it's not my first language!

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  24. hii sunitha..i read lot of about u from some magazines,am working in delhi..in my life i want to do something for poor people, if u want any help from me plz contact me..+91 8800149489
    nikhivk@gmail.com

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  25. Hats off mam, you are truly an inspiration to all . I have completed my Bcom with computer application and I am ready to serve you in any way possible mam.I saw the TED talks , u are a great inspiration . Hoping to lending hand in the possible ways . sneha.nesa@gmail.com

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  26. yes, you are such an inspiration to all men

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  27. Hats off Mam. I am a youth worker belonging to the society of Don Bosco called the salesians who work for the destitute young boys specially abandoned in the streets and abused. It was my friend who introduced you with the video of the talk by u. I was really stunned with the dedication and bravery u potray. Our country is blessed with people like you. I have taken a pledge to not to look with a discriminatory eye those people abused by the selfishness of few. Thanks for your example. U bring the kingdom of God on earth where equality, justice and companianship prevail

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  28. wonderful , I do not understand why people buy sex , get sex is one of the easiest thing in the world.... well I am so handsome ,I do not have problems to get sex!

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  29. hi maam,
    how you got this much strength after having bitter experiences from life? I am sure, it will be the support from ur family.
    you are a model for girls to combat to all oddities in life

    best wishes

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  30. Help people to know how they can contribute who are willing to work for the cause. Many of us gone through multiple sexual emotional psychological social traumas.Our country India and all other nations are suffering through such exploitations,highly with females and it begins from own families. We must literate, discuss, talk everyone about it,where ever possible, to bring healthy minds and not make it taboo. Me too like many others have much complexes still in life due to molestations.

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  31. hai sunitha chechi
    "ALL THE BEST FROM A SISTER.
    I LOVE U VERY MUCH"
    SREELAKSHMI KOLLAM

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  32. good not understand why people buy sex , get sex is one of the easiest thing in the world.... well I am so

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  33. Hi, I am from singapore. From a young age I have been harrassed physically by men. This has caused me emotional stress.It has affected my work and social life. I find it very difficult to travel in public transport during peak hour. But these girls whom you rescued have suffered even more.. And you are a good example for me. I admire your courage and endurance. Peace.

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  34. Sunitha Mam,

    Ur truly an inspiration to all those souls, so lost deeply inside, not knowing what to do when life and society has put an end to their life (though they are very much breathing still ) ...Keep on moving Mam..All the very best for all your moves in life.Truly inspiring and touching.Your blogs get me a feel never like before as to how things are happening around us..your writings literally make us feel in that situation.When readers can feel the pain, cant think of how the one in those shoes feel.
    To all those souls in pain,
    Just remember the story of this great lady and help yourselves and lead a life .Life is not over cos of such incidents.
    Looking for more write ups from you Mam cos I feel people are learning loads from you.

    Best regards,
    Sneha

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  35. Sunitha Garu,
    I am really appreciating for your fighting against the anti trafficking and rehabilitation in favour of sexually assault women and their family. I request to u spread your branches in all districts in Andhra Pradesh. In our Anantapur Kadiri, Gandlapenta and sourounding villages so many women forcefully entered into brothal houses. Please visit the above villages and educate them.
    B.SATYANARAYANA REDDY
    Advocate, Anantapuramu

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