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It is not your fault and you’re not alone: Barkha Dutt

Posted on February 22, 2018

Barkha Dutt recounts her experience of sexual abuse as a child as part of Population Foundation of India’s campaign on ending violence against women and girls ~

PFI released a hard hitting video based on well-known journalist Barkha Dutt’s personal experience of sexual abuse at an early age as part of the Bas Ab Bahut Ho Gaya- Enough is Enough campaign.

 Bas Ab Bahut Ho Gaya: Enough is Enough is a digital campaign in partnership with Farhan Akhtar’s initiative MARD (Men Against Rape and Discrimination) and renowned film and theatre director Feroz Abbas Khan.

The film deals with child sexual abuse and the fact that violence against women and especially children often go unreported because the victims are too young and confused about the incidences. Moreover, the majority of such victims feel it is their fault.

In the film, Barkha Dutt speaks about her horrifying experience of sexual abuse at an early age and the significant role played by her father in raising her to be an independent and strong woman. 

“I don’t know of any woman who hasn’t experienced violence of any form. But what’s worse is the fact that women have been socialised to accept violence. Also, children who get sexually abused start feeling that it’s their fault. The one way to record what has happened to you is to tell someone about it and most importantly accept that it is not your fault”, says Barkha.

Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director, Population Foundation of India points out that in most cases the victims know the abusers. "As parents, it is our responsibility to make our homes a safe place for our children. Let the abusers bear the burden of shame. As a society, we need to be more sensitive and encourage people to speak up. Along with speaking up, we need supportive parents so that children can deal with such abuse and abusers”, she says.

Director Feroz Abbas Khan says, “Our society needs to realise that abuse happens, and happens often. The fact that studies show over 70% of victims choose not to complain, talks about the false standards we bear at home. It is time to shatter such misgivings. We also need to start being supportive of victims and call out people who are in the wrong.”

This film is part of a series being released digitally to generate awareness amongst youth on ending violence against women and girls. Celebrities have joined the campaign to relay messages that motivate young girls to stand up against violence, and show boys that violence is not a sign of masculinity. 

Apart from the six short films, the campaign includes panel discussions and a film-making contest for college students, and a celebrity concert held in Mumbai in November 2017 with performances by Farhan Akhtar, Salim-Suleiman, Armaan Malik, Prakriti- Sukriti and Harshdeep Kaur.

You can watch the film here.