India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
April 17, 2018

Justice For Asifa

Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena

As a society that is witnessing horrifying acts against girls and women, we question where we are headed. And spotlight some NGOs that are working at providing a helpline to women and children

Outrage. Anger. Disgust. Shame. Indignation. Grief. These are but few of the feelings that have swept all rational and sane people in the wake of the gruesome tragedy that befell eight-year-old Asifa Bano – and I feel that these raging emotions should never die down. The horror of the act committed is unimaginable, especially as one realises that it was the result of a plan to drive the girl’s nomadic community out of the area. It is shocking that the dastardly committing of rape, compounded with murder, was but a tool to achieve a political aim in India. And this makes one question where we as a nation – and as humans – are headed?

We have not forgotten – and will never forget – the night that Nirbhaya was attacked in the country’s capital – a night that then completely shocked us with its brutality. Nor can we forget the Unnao rape case where the victim tried to immolate herself in front of the chief minister’s house, seeking justice, hopefully not in vain.

No two atrocities can be compared, but every fresh incident raises the spectre of those that happened before it. For all of us whether as mothers, daughters, sisters, wives – simply as girls and women – and for the boys and men who care – these are situations that are amongst our worst nightmares come true. We are disturbingly shocked – by the circumstances in which the act was committed, the reasons for which it was committed and by the act itself!

Are we as a society living in a metaphorical war zone – where the enemies are unknown and unexpected? Where our girls and women have to watch every step they take, fearful of what awaits them around the corner? Where, as a society, we have to teach them how to defend themselves, age notwithstanding? Where, unfortunately, we have to tell them that being a girl, they must draw fences and barriers around themselves perhaps even before they learn to draw a line on a sheet of paper? But, when one reads of babies and innocent young girls being raped, how does one tackle or deal with that or prepare to prevent occurrences like those?

While candlelight vigils, marches and rallies continue and voices are raised in shocked protest, we can only pray from the silos of our lives. Our hearts go out to Asifa’s family and to the unknown others who, and whose families, have suffered in the darkness of silence. As we pray with full hearts that we do not have an ‘India’s Daughter’ again!

We compile a list of NGOs that one can reach out to for help:

  • Nanhi Kali – Provides primary education to underprivileged girl children in India.
  • Iimpact-Making A Difference – Aims to educate and empower the girl child, transforming families and communites across India.
  • CARE-India – Empowers girls and women from marginalised communities through well-planned and comprehensive programmes.
  • Rahi India – Supports the recovery of child sexual abuse survivors.
  • Azad Foundation – Focuses on self-defense, women’s rights, child abuse and skills training for women.
  • Aarambh India – Provides child protection services for underprivilged communities and helps victims of sexual abuse.
  • Sayfty – Educates women and girls about issues of violence against women.
  • Arpan – Works towards preventing instances of child sexual abuse by empowering children, teachers and parents.
  • India Women Welfare Organisation – Helps develop a support network through establishing links between government policies or schemes and foundations and women who are socially, culturally and geographically isolated.
  • Childline – 24-hour emergency phone service that responds to children in need of immediate assistance and service.
  • Protsahan – Works against child abuse with a focus on adolescent girls in underserved communities of India.

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