Protest and speak out: Satyarthi to girls

Bhubaneswar: Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Monday urged the women and girls in the society to protest and raise voice against any kind of physical and sexual exploitation if happening around them.

Addressing a gathering here ahead of the International Women’s Day, he stated that the first thing one needs to do is to break the silence.

“If a daughter is not safe in the mother’s womb because of the traditional and social bias against them and if the girls are not safe in their homes, schools, neighbourhood, and in-laws places, what kind of society we are living in? We need not look for a hero or a champion outside. Every girl born in India is herself a champion and a leader…The only thing is that you have to identify yourself, your power and then speak out,” Satyarthi said.

“The problem lies when we keep quiet…I would say despite all traditional factors and social taboos, speak your mind, when you see something wrong around you,” he stressed.

The Nobel laureate expressed concern over low conviction rate in sexual exploitation cases in India and strongly demanded fast track courts, child friendly court procedures and time bound trials. He said out of 20,000 such cases which were heard last year, only 2,000 perpetrators got convicted.

“Alarmingly 32 lakh cases of sexual and physical violence have been registered and convictions in 12% cases were made,” he pointed out.

He called upon the parents to create a friendly atmosphere especially with the girls for a better sharing of feelings in day to day life.

“Giving chocolates, pizzas, burgers etc will not make their mind and soul healthy. You need to be friends especially with girls,” he urged.

During his hour long address he stressed that it is the collective responsibility of the society to see the girls are educated. The journey of gender equality, social justice and economic empowerment begins when a girl goes to school.

“We can’t keep on making hollow and false promises to our daughters about women empowerment…We have to do it now,” he noted.

The event was organised by Parichay Foundation, a philanthropic organisation engaged in promoting Indian art and culture and bringing about economic and social upliftment for underprivileged in urban slums and rural parts of Odisha and New Delhi.