Sexual abuse is an evil that has always tormented Indian society. Sexual abuse has happened irrespective of demographic factors like socio-economic status, gender, education, age, etc.
Abuse of any kind is equally horrific. However, imagine facing abuse during the most innocent phase of life when one cannot even comprehend abuse - CHILDHOOD. Child sexual abuse is extremely traumatizing and leaves a child scarred for life. Especially when it comes from the supposedly sole protector of your family - the FATHER.
Recently, politician Khushbu Sundar opened up about the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. The revelation has sent shock waves throughout the Indian media.
Khushbu Sundar was one of the leading actresses of the Tamil Industry in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She then entered politics and was recently nominated as a member of the National Commission for Women (NCW). However, she was hiding something amidst all these achievements. She recently revealed that she was sexually abused by her father since the age of eight. She could only find the courage to stand up to him after she turned 15.
She described her father as a man who thought it was his right to beat up his wife, beat up his children, and sexually abuse his only daughter. She described her parents' marriage as 'abusive.' She feared that her mother won't believe her as she believed in what Sundar described as the 'my husband is my God' attitude. However, after revolting at the age of 15, her father abandoned their family and left. Sundar grew up in poverty wondering 'where the next meal will come from.'
Recently another politician who has a similar profile as that of Sundar has accused her father of sexually abusing her. Swati Maliwal, Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, also revealed that she was sexually assaulted by her father. The revelation was obviously met with empathy from netizens all over social media. However, the tagline of a politician never leaves your back. Social media users and politicians dug up some old tweets from Maliwal to find some inconsistencies in her statements.
Maliwal revealed that she was sexually abused by her father and she would hide under the bed to save herself. She further added that her father was a heavy alcoholic and would brutally beat her. She then said that her mother took a stand and decided to leave her (Maliwal's) father. Even though she was still traumatized, she felt secure after she started living with her grandparents. She concluded by saying that incidents like these should not be kept hidden.
There was a sudden twist in the story when an old tweet of Maliwal surfaced. Maliwal had tweeted words of appreciation for her father and had claimed that had even learned to sacrifice her life for the sake of the nation.
I am a daughter of army personnel. I was brought up in the army. I have learned to work for the nation, to sacrifice my life for the nation. No power in the world can scare me.
- Swati Maliwal, 2016
The contradictory nature of the tweet with her allegation of sexual abuse was what shocked the entire social media. Many politicians, especially of the opposing party came ahead criticizing Maliwal's allegation towards her father. Even though an allegation of any kind should not be invalidated without solid evidence, it was only natural for people to believe that things are not adding up together.
Maliwal's ex-husband Naveen Jaihind also weighed on the issue. He said that Maliwal has never talked about her father sexually assaulting her in the 10 years of their marriage. Jaihind said that Maliwal should prove these allegations. He concluded by saying that Maliwal's father passed away 20 years ago, so there is no option other than proving those allegations were real.
Barkha Shukla, former Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief, has come out all guns blazing against Maliwal. She claimed that Maliwal has lost her mental balance and accusing her late father would be 'wrong' and 'extremely shameful.'
(Input from various media sources)