Counsellors, including those empanelled with the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), say that many cases of sexual abuse are still going unreported, and psychological recovery of the victim — which can take anywhere between a few years and a lifetime — is extremely important to help them resume their life.
Experts say that despite the limited deterrence that a law like POCSO has ensured, the tendency of stigmatising the victim prevents discussion and more often than not results in the victims blaming themselves.
“This is more common in the 16-18 age group and especially with girl victims who are on the verge of adulthood. During counselling, I have encountered numerous girls, who start believing in the very irrational stereotypes that the society tries to reinforce. Our sessions are comparatively shorter and the fact remains that they spend more time with families, who associate things like ‘family honour’ with these incidents,” said a counsellor.
Manju Upadhyay from Community Aid & Sponsorship Programme, who has counselled many victims, recalled an instance where a 15-year-old girl was found dead months after she was allegedly raped by a group of men.