Hyderabad: The ‘Dignity March’, aimed at ending sexual violence against women and children, reached Hyderabad on Saturday after covering Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Goa.
Survivors of rape and sexual violence and families from various States participated in the march. The march, initiated by the Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan along with several like-minded organisations, is a 65-day national event that will see survivors and other stakeholders travel 10,000 kilometres in 200 districts of 24 States and union territories in India. It began from Mumbai and will culminate in Delhi in February.
Speaking at the march, Ashif Shaik, convenor of Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan said the aim was to end the victim shaming of women and children who are survivors of sexual violence and to shift the social humiliation on to perpetrators and for other stakeholders to create a healthy, non-judgmental and safe environment to support their voice and to fight on their behalf.
According to Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan, a survey, ‘Speak Out’, was conducted to determine the intensity of sexual violence against women and children and to bring out the voice of the survivors. The survey revealed that an alarming number of people faced sexual violence, but 95 per cent of the incidents of sexual violence against women and children were not reported, and the victim was shamed and lived under constant fear of social stigma.
“The March is a response to what is happening around us. Legal provisions and law enforcement agency can only provide assistance to victims who report their exploitation, but millions are afraid and embarrassed to even report
their suffering,” Shaikh said.
Narrating her struggle, a survivor of a gang rape said she had suffered more from shaming by people around her than the actual exploitation.
“I have changed five villages already because of the shaming. We cannot undo what has been done to us, but we can definitely prevent others from falling prey in future. We request the survivors to come forward and speak up,” she said.