“Sexual assault and fear of social stigma drove one of my two daughters to commit suicide. The two were sexually assaulted by my husband’s brothers,” revealed the mother of two victims in the 2016 sexual assault case under (POCSO) Act, 2012.
Leima (name changed), narrating her story at a programme on women and child abuse held in Imphal Sunday, appealed to all stakeholders to extend support for speedy justice to be delivered in the case.
Like Leima, many mothers suffer the pain and trauma of their daughters or loved ones, who are victims of sexual assaults.
While several cases go unreported, Youth Forum for Protection of Human Rights secretary T Shadishkanta highlighted basic legal rights such as POCSO Act and Child Marriage Prohibition Act at the programme in Imphal.
“It is high time for all citizens to have basic legal knowledge and a mechanism is needed in order to bring speedy justice and to prevent the youths from becoming accused due to lack of knowledge,” he said during the programme entitled: "Questioning the Future of Manipur".
The programme was organised by the Women Action for Development (WAD) and the Uchekon Nongchup Gram Panchayat, Lainingthou Moriba Village Level Federation (VLF) and Uchekon Women VLF.
Shadishkanta appealed to the participants not to encourage child marriage and to report incidents to Child Helpline No 1098.
WAD secretary Sobita Mangsatabam also spoke on the topic "Gender & Gender based violence".
She pointed out the need of a practical solution to handle crime against women and a change or improvement in the justice delivery system, active participation of the victims, a need for proper forensic science laboratory and DNA testing machine in the state and appealed to the government to look into the needs.
Social Scientist Dhanabir Laishram drew attention of the participants to tackle violence against women and children and said one needs to understand the contribution made by the other. To bring up children in a cool and calm environment, both parents need to share equal responsibility in the family with understanding, he advised.
Pradhan Konsam Munindro, Uchekon Gram Panchayat called for organising more of such programmes in the future. The programme was attended by around 200 local people, including VLF members, and promoted by the Manipur State Rural Livelihood Mission in association with PRI, CBO convergence project.