Dignity March held to end stigmatisation of sexual violence victims
Dignity March was organised at Manas Bhavan where many survivors of sexual violence shared their experience in the platform. Socio cultural programme was also organised as a part of the event. The volunteers who took part in the march also discussed about the situation around sexual violence and rape against children and women in Madhya Pradesh and India. Ashif Shaikh, Convenor, Rahstriya Garima Abhiyan, Dignity March while talking to ‘The Hitavada’ said that special police unit and fast track court will be coming up soon in every district in Madhya Pradesh and for that they have also appealed concerned authorities. He also said that in Madhya Pradesh they have been able to support more than 5,000 victims of rape and sexual assault through psychosocial and legal assistance. This has resulted in higher conviction and reporting rate in Madhya Pradesh, higher conviction leads to deterrence of crime.
It’s a collective bid to end stigmatisation of women and children who are victims of sexual violence, the Dignity March comprising of survivors of rape and sexual violence, arrived in Bhopal after striding through Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Ranchi, Bihar and Lucknow. With its arrival, the 10,000 kilometer march is gaining strength as thousands of participants proceed towards ending the culture of shame and fear among victims, urging citizens to psychologically support the victims.
This march is rooted in a national online survey conducted by Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan. The survey ‘Speak Out’ was conducted to determine the intensity of sexual violence against women and children and to bring out the voice of the survivors. The survey revealed that an alarming number of people have faced sexual violence, but 95% of the incidents of the sexual violence against women and children are not reported and the victim is shamed and is under constant fear of stigmatisation by the society. Especially in case of children, most crimes go un noticed and there is negligible conviction which leads to impurity among children, most crimes go unnoticed and there is negligible conviction which leads to impunity among culprits. The survey also reveals that the government data of incidents of sexual violence against women and children is less valid as only 2% of incidents have been reported to the police.
The dignity march conceptualised by Rashtriya Garima Manch in association with several like-minded organisations is a 65-day national march witnessing survivors joined by their family members and other stake holders travelling 10,000 km in 200 districts of 24 states in India. The Dignity March was kicked started from Mumbai on December 20 by over 5,000 survivors along with their family members and several prominent members of the society. It will culminate on February 22 in New Delhi.