Every single morning when I open my newspaper, a similar headline screams at me –“An 8 year old, sexually assaulted, killed, body found in the field!”

Why does sexual assault still occur when we have brilliant laws like the POCSO and the Nirbhaya Acts in place? Why do young girls and women still face violence, both outside and within their homes in our country? Why do men throw acid on the face of women who do not respond to their advances? Why do wives get beaten up by husbands when they decline to have sex with them after a very tiring day?

Why is there so much violence? There are so many brilliant laws to protect women, yet receiving justice takes a long time! Is it because justice is always slow or because we have less number of judges or because nobody really cares? The number of FIR’s keeps mounting in police stations because of the increased awareness of laws, yet there are hardly any convictions.

Sexual abuse in more than 75% of cases is by a known person of the family, but the family does not complain, instead sweeps it under the carpet because of family honor! But more and more women are speaking up today due to the confidence they have in the system. But how long will they have to wait for the perpetrator to be punished and what will be the punishment? A few years in jail, that is all for the heinous crime he has committed! Then he is out in Society, to continue the crime once again, but even more ferociously on the same victim who has complained!

We need to realize the stress it can cause to the victim, especially if the abuser is a known person. She will live her life, always expecting retaliation, always in fear! So let’s look at how we ourselves can do something, whilst we reach for the time in India when our girls and women are safe to walk freely, as women do in many countries in the world.

Let’s empower our girls to prevent the crime rather than treat it later! Let’s empower them with the physical power to defend themselves, especially with self – defense techniques, and the right protocols to follow if they do get assaulted in spite of all our efforts. We all know that though women are mentally strong, they are physically weaker than men, as they have lower testosterone levels!

Through the Women’s Empowerment Foundation, this is exactly what we are doing! We work in the slums of Dharavi, empowering our girls, for their present and for their future. You can see the results on the link http://www.wefoundation.org.in/video-gallery/   through a video on our website, showing the girl defending herself against 3 boys, and the young girl speaking on how our confident she feels after having been with us for the less 3 years!. Let’s make them physically and mentally so strong and confident that nobody dares to abuse them!

Knowledge about their rights, equity and equality is equally important. This has been shared with them through our app called “TooShytoAsk” currently in 5 languages. It is Available free to download on the App Store and Play store! I request all parents to go through the App judge it and if you think its right to share it with your girls, then shares it and empowers them with correct information. You will never regret the day you do it.

We need to empower our girls with the right skills and make them confident to face the world outside. Keeping them locked up in our homes safe and sound is not the answer!