It is difficult for victims of sexual assault to speak about their experiences. Thankfully, times are changing. With the massive #MeToo movement, a large number of women came forward and opened up about their encounters, spreading awareness of sexual harassment not just in work and public places but also within families. However, during such conversations, we tend to miss out on the fact that even men are victims of sexual assault.
Former quiz contest host and current MP of the Trinamool Congress, Derek O’Brien recently opened up about being a victim of sexual assault. According to sources, he spoke about how he was sexually abused as a teenager in the recent parliamentary session on the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Amendment Bill.
“I was sexually molested as a 13-year-old on a bus in Kolkata after tennis practice wearing short pants and a t-shirt, I got on to a crowded bus, I was sexually molested. A man ejaculated on the shorts of this boy. I didn’t speak about it”, he said.
He urged on the fact that more people need to talk about sexual abuse and start a conversation. Only then will children be comfortable speaking about it. Speaking about such topics have forever been a taboo and it’s time we change it.
Smriti Irani, the Minister for Women and Child Development, supported Derek O’Brien’s proposition and said:
“That fact that an MP today shared what he faced at age 13…46 years later, tells us what an imprint sexual abuse leaves on a child.”
Members of the Rajya Sabha agreed on how children should be taught about “good and bad touch”. The aim is to prevent sexual abuse altogether. The bill legislation was passed unanimously by the Rajya Sabha suggesting death penalty for “aggravated sexual abuse of children”. The bill has now been sent to Lok Sabha for approval.
We believe more men should come forward and speak about their experiences. Only then will the taboo against speaking about sexual assault be lifted.