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regular-article-logo Friday, 23 February 2024

Sexually assaulted as a kid: Women’s panel chairperson

I believe that when a human being faces a lot of atrocities, only then the person can understand the pain of others, says Swati Maliwal

Pheroze L. Vincent New Delhi Published 12.03.23, 03:40 AM
Swati Maliwal.

Swati Maliwal. File picture

The chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, Swati Maliwal, has claimed she was sexually abused by her father when she was a child.

Maliwal — a firebrand campaigner for the death penalty for rape — told reporters after an event on Saturday that the abuse she endured as a child motivated her to fight for justice for other women. Her comments came a week after a similar claim by Khusbhu Sundar, an actress, BJP leader and a member of the National Commission for Women.

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At the International Women’s Day Awards programme on Saturday, Maliwal appeared to get emotional while felicitating some of the awardees.

When reporters asked her about this, she said: “I became emotional today because all the awardees had very powerful stories and they struggled a lot. My own father sexually exploited me when I was young. He hit me a lot. When he would come home, I used to feel very afraid. I would often hide under a bed and plan all night as to how I would get women their rights and teach a lesson to such men who exploit women and children.

“I still remember that when he would come to assault me, he would grab my plaits and bang me hard against the wall. I used to bleed, and I used to feel desperate.

“I believe that when a human being faces a lot of atrocities, only then the person can understand the pain of others and only then does a fire develops within that enables one to shake up the whole system. Maybe this happened to me as well. All our awardees have similar life stories.”

Maliwal added: “I lived with my father till (I was in) Class IV. Until then, it happened many times.”

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