Meet Pranaadhika Sinha Devburman.
She was just 10 years old when she started her fight against sexual-abuse. She had begun campaigning since then.
Seems unbelievable, right?
We are living in times when unthinkable incidents are coming to light, well, Pranaadhika’s story is amongst them.
She recalls rather horridly, “That time I didn’t remember an incident of abuse that happened when I was 4, I had blocked it out. But what I did remember and what I was affected by was an incident when I was 8 years old.”
The caretaker of the building her father lived in took the little downstairs, telling her they’d both play badminton. But soon it converted to ‘let’s play a game and I’ll show you a secret place’ to sexually misbehave with her.
The little girl’s first defensive instinct made her run away to her aunt and narrate the caretaker’s misdoings. Because her parents had gone apart, Pranaadhika did not have a choice to reach out to her mother. And her aunt’s reaction, which was laughter and nonchalance, completely shook Pranaadhika. “I was horrified by her response and I knew that I had not done anything and it was not my fault. I was a child and I had so many burning questions in my head.”
Just 10 yo at that time, Pranaadhika continuously had questions and confusions lingering inside her head. Worse, she did not know whom to talk to about it. Well, for starters, she first tried talking to her schoolmates about it, and they unfriended her, Pranaadhika knew she had to do something on her own. She launched a campaign. As a first step, she became the go-to-person for anyone who has or ever suffered sexual abuse.
“It is important to release that emotional burden”.
Until she reached teenage, ever her parents did not know about Pranaadhika’s initiative. Once things gained steam, she set up “Right Now Kolkata”(name changed to ‘Elaan’ later), and visited schools, coffee-shops, book stores armed with the intent to spread awareness about the serious issue.
Pranaadhika’s efforts caught the media-eye in 2004 finally. And her parents were uber-supportive. She happily gloats, ““I have the best parents. How many kids would be permitted to speak about something like this freely in the 90’s? My father was an IAS, from the royal family and I was working on something like this, taking my own example. They let me do this. I’m very grateful.”
Last year in June, Pranaadhika went on to kick off, 1 Million Against Child/Adult Sexual Abuse, an endeavor aimed at educating 1 million people on sexual violence, and to work with them on stopping it. “Anyone associated with this campaign who is from the urban population will realise that they are blessed. They have the means to speak up. They just need to get over the ‘log kya kahenge’ (What will people say?) mentality.”
Pranaadhika’s main purpose of all her endeavors is just one, “I don’t want anything but to shock the government with these numbers, pictures, signatures, and to show them that 1 million people care about this cause and that it’s time they take notice as well. That’s the basic outcome. ” She continues, “I also want government to make sex education mandatory in all schools. I want stringent child protection policies in place. I also strict punishment to be given to sex offenders.”
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