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Hers Is The Face I Can’t Forget


Hers is the face I can’t forget.
Hers are the tears I will always see in my mind’s eye.
Hers are the loud, racking sobs that will echo in my ears.
I will never forget holding her
Trying to wish away the mind-numbing pain.
I will never forget hearing her words
The truth that she had held buried within.
I will never forget my own feelings of shock
Helplessness and speechlessness.
What do you tell this woman
Who was brave enough to tell her truth
As she struggled to forgive the beasts ?
The ones who had taken away her childhood
Who had ravaged her body and
Permanently scarred her spirit.
The men she now worked to support.
The men? These demons…
Her father and brothers……..

I will never forget this woman – a victim of child sexual abuse

I won’t forget that millions of young girls (young boys too) in India are victims of child sexual abuse.

Objectified. Treated as playthings by adult men and sometimes, even woman.

Sexual abuse that takes place in their homes, their neighbourhoods, their schools, their places of worship, their workplaces. Most of them are sworn into silence, threatened that their loved ones will be hurt.

I won’t forget that these girls suffer the consequences of such abuse and violence in their bodies and minds:

Physical – HIV infection, STIs, unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and other problems with their reproductive health.

Psychological – Depression, suicidal notions, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and inappropriate sexualised behaviour.

We cannot let this go on. It is time for us to speak out. Speak out to End Violence.

UNICEF India has recently concluded The #ENDViolence Campaign – a social media campaign to target online audiences. To amplify the impact of the initiative, there offline media outreach, blogger involvement, and celebrity and civil society engagement was also included.

Read the UNICEF India to get more information. Follow UNICEF India on Facebook here.

The focused campaign is over but the cause continues.

Get information. Educate other adults. Train your children to be safe. Report incidents when you come to know of them.

Let’s talk about the issue of child sexual abuse so that we can end the silence and the violence around this. 

Photo credit: MorgueFile


  1. […] give our all or nothing to fight against causes that our dear to us – for the rights of children, equal rights for women, cancer research, banning carcinogenic chemicals, keeping our water and […]

  2. KayEm KayEm September 30, 2013

    How can they ignore her trauma when they force themselves on her? Don’t they have any concern for the little child? Such lack of self control is sickening.
    KayEm recently posted..Why I Wrote “Never Mind Yaar”My Profile

  3. Meena Menon Meena Menon September 30, 2013

    CSA.. A v v horrfying thot! The impact that it leaves the scars that it leaves makes it the most unpardanoble of sins!!!

    Am glad that we have broken the silence around it and the litt gals around now know beta!

  4. AlkaGurha AlkaGurha September 30, 2013

    Poignant, powerful and yet beautiful. Sad that most girls are silent sufferers.
    AlkaGurha recently posted..Who lit the fire?My Profile

  5. Shefali Shefali September 30, 2013

    Such powerful words! Beautifully written Corinne. Being a mother takes the protective gene to a different level. Every child deserves protection, every child deserves a childhood that is untainted. Glad you posted this.
    Shefali recently posted..A Short (Sarcastic) StoryMy Profile

  6. bhavana bhavana September 29, 2013

    What is different about this post on CSA is that you have named the physical and psychological fallouts of CSA. And that connecting of dots is so essential because we usually put them in different categories and judge women who have PTSD as women who can’t move on, or women who are obsessed with sadness and what not. The moving on process is so difficult. Thanks for making this post whole.
    bhavana recently posted..Casteism Unravelled: Series LinksMy Profile

  7. sangeeta khanna sangeeta khanna September 29, 2013

    CSA makes the society bleed from within, an irreparable damage actually. We need efforts at multiple levels to stop the incidents from happening and for healing the suffering individuals. Your post highlights the right approach to deal with it Corinne.

  8. Latha Latha September 29, 2013

    I know the pain, the anguish and the hatred that comes along with it all..Now I make sure my kids don’t go through it. Your lines are touching.

  9. Vishnu Vishnu September 28, 2013

    Thanks for talking about these issues Corinne which are filled with so much taboo and silence. We can’t start dealing with them until we bring it out to light – or at least having the conversation so people will feel safe talking about it. This will continue until people come to acknowledge the problem and confront it. Glad UNICEF is leading this campaign.
    Vishnu recently posted..Controlling Manipulative Relationships: The End of An EraMy Profile

  10. Priti Singh Priti Singh September 28, 2013

    Very strong write-up…I get scared when I read such scary things happening around us and am worried about my 3 yr old niece’s future and her safety. 🙁 We are a part of society and hence we need to educate ourselves first and then others…an applaud to the initiative taken by UNICEF. Thank you for raising this issue…
    Priti Singh recently posted..Black Magic Art Using Foil and Shoe PolishMy Profile

  11. ~ Irene ~ ~ Irene ~ September 28, 2013

    I remember interning at the legal medicine department three years ago. I was shocked to discover how many girls under 18 are being physically and sexually abused every single day. It just broke my heart.

    The poem is beautiful and heart-wrenching. Great post, Corinne.
    ~ Irene ~ recently posted..BlankMy Profile

  12. Anne Anne September 27, 2013

    I think sexual abuse of women, especially children, is one of the most heinous crime that can be committed by humans to humans. It doesn’t only violate the person but robs her of the dignity and worth she needs to live an honorable life. It’s great that UNICEF is doing its own share but I think we all need better education and character formation among our own to fight and further prevent such a gruesome crime.
    Anne recently posted..Follow FestMy Profile

  13. Sakshi Nanda Sakshi Nanda September 27, 2013

    Lovely post, Corinne. I love the juxtaposition of poetry with prose carrying all the relevant links and information.
    Sakshi Nanda recently posted..Shreeman BaniyanMy Profile

  14. Diana Pinto Diana Pinto September 27, 2013

    Child sexual abuse can create havoc in a child’s mind and can cause irreparable damage to the child’s psyche. It’s a great initiative by UNICEF to spread awareness and educate the masses. The poem was beautiful and touching.
    Diana Pinto recently posted..Dear motherMy Profile

  15. Proactive Indian Proactive Indian September 27, 2013

    Tackling Child Sexual Abuse, in fact all Sexual Abuse, is made much more difficult by the fact that it’s not visible, it’s not spoken about.
    Often, the victim doesn’t speak out because the perpetrator is generally perceived as a paragon of virtue. We must have an open mind, always remembering that every human being is prone to human (in this case, inhuman) weaknesses.
    Secondly, knowingly or otherwise, people, even well-meaning ones, make victims of sexual abuse feel guilty about what’s been done to them. This must change.
    Proactive Indian recently posted..Superpower??? (33 Fiction)My Profile

  16. usha menon usha menon September 27, 2013

    Corinne, you have raised a very important issue.,which is spreading its wild tentacles on the fabric of society. Unfortunately, instead of coming down, such instances are on the rise. It is very shameful that even fathers and brothers are culprits. It is good that voices are being raised against this heinous deed. The monsters should be given harsh punishment.

  17. Pooja Sharma Rao Pooja Sharma Rao September 27, 2013

    I have often written on similar topics and this kind of betrayal of trust is just another reflection on what all we hide under the garb of respecting the elders and family values.
    Pooja Sharma Rao recently posted..UNTRUEMy Profile

  18. Indrani Indrani September 27, 2013

    Very serious issue, I am glad there is more awareness in this now than before.
    Children should be taught early in life about good and bad touch.
    Indrani recently posted..Are These Spaceships?My Profile

  19. Bhavya Bhavya September 27, 2013

    Thank you Corinne, for writing this.
    I have more than one person, close to my heart suffering within themselves, struggling daily to forgive those who harmed them, scarred them….
    Thank you for being their voice.
    Bhavya recently posted..If Only You Were HereMy Profile

  20. Rachna Rachna September 27, 2013

    It is the worst when it happens within the own family, when your own flesh and blood turn predators. Yes, we need to train our children, communicate better with them and speak up so that no victim feels the shame to come forward and fight back.
    Rachna recently posted..The knight in shining armor — Part 2My Profile

  21. Mary Stephenson Mary Stephenson September 27, 2013

    Hi Corinne

    This goes right along with your post on suicide prevention. I made a comment on that one. This adds to the mental illness statement that some said about suicide. The person getting sexually abused is not the one with the mental illness…but it does create one to become mentally ill. But suicide or the attempt of suicide is not necessarily mental illness, it is someone who cannot cope with something they can’t control. How many young girls commit suicide because they have been sexually abused? I don’t think they are the ones with the mental illness. It is a tough situation and it happens everywhere. You either cope and survive or you don’t.

    Ah Corinne, another hot topic. At least for me.

    Mary Stephenson recently posted..The End of a SeasonMy Profile

  22. Laxmi Chundi Addanki Laxmi Chundi Addanki September 27, 2013

    Such deep words Corinne – makes me sob with the victims. I await a day when we have this awareness and no child is ever harmed in any which way.

  23. Jeevan Jacob John Jeevan Jacob John September 27, 2013

    Hey Corinne,

    This is a serious issue I have discussed among my own friends – many of them live in India and most of them want to punish the folks who perform these acts.

    I am of the opinion that punishment alone isn’t going to solve the issue (Many countries still have capital punishment for murder, but does that deter everyone from murdering? It does deter a few, but not all). We need to solve this problem at the root. Like you said, educate people, prevent the thought itself from happening. Teach people to respect each other, despite their age and gender.

    Indian culture itself plays a role in this. The rich diversity isn’t helping, it just seems to amplify the problem. And, protesting isn’t enough anymore. We need to take action, force the government to take action.

  24. Shilpa Garg Shilpa Garg September 26, 2013

    This is so very disturbing!! CSA can scar a child for life and especially if the abuse is done by a close family member. It is so important to make our children aware of the wolves out there… awareness is the key… Good to know about this UNICEF initiative. As you rightly mentioned, we MUST talk about the issue of child sexual abuse so that we can end the silence and the violence around this.
    Shilpa Garg recently posted..Book Review : The Price You Pay by Somnath BatabyalMy Profile

  25. Vidya Sury Vidya Sury September 26, 2013

    Silent suffering is the scariest, the fear that one’s own family, one’s own friends will not understand or support.

    Thanks for a powerful post, Corinne!
    Vidya Sury recently posted..Nurtured by EncouragementMy Profile

  26. A Walk into the Woods A Walk into the Woods September 26, 2013

    The poem was heart-wrenching, Corinne… and yeah, so many of the children are first at risk from their most immediate trusted people. I saw this particular forward in which the victims had written the words of their abusers – it was chilling and scary.
    See the psychology behind them?
    They instill fear/guilt/shame/justification/what not??
    When will we be able to #EndViolence against women/girls/infants/kids/teenagers?
    A Walk into the Woods recently posted..I, as a woman, a girl and God’s own child, want to breathe easyMy Profile

  27. Joe Joe September 26, 2013

    In any country, unless there is swift and fitting punishment, these heinous crimes will never stop.
    Joe recently posted..The RockMy Profile

  28. Amrita Thavrani Amrita Thavrani September 26, 2013

    Good to know about the UNICEF campaign. Yes, we have to scream from the roof-top about the stained childhood and insecure youth. The more we speak, the more open the platform will be. Eventually we may hope for a mind shift, no matter how feeble.

  29. Kajal Kajal September 26, 2013

    Y’know the thought always gives me spine chills….leaves me scared to my soul. These people are not even animals (even animals have feelings) these people are demons with no conscience.
    Kajal recently posted..Movie Review : The LunchboxMy Profile

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