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Wednesday February 28, 2024

Call for supporting victims of sexual abuse at home

November 25, 2023

Sexual abuse at home has lifelong implications and it creates a hopeless situation for victims, said psychologist Dr Asha Bedar.

She was speaking in a webinar titled, ‘Incest: Breaking the Silence and Shattering the Taboo,’ hosted by Uks on Friday. The event aimed at providing a secure platform for an open dialogue on the often-overlooked issue. It was conducted as part of a global campaign against gender-based violence.

The image released on March 15, 2023, shows Dr. Asha Bedar talking about the psychological impacts of reporting SV on the public, victims & the media reporters. —x/fizzabangash
The image released on March 15, 2023, shows Dr. Asha Bedar talking about the psychological impacts of reporting SV on the public, victims & the media reporters. —x/fizzabangash

The severity of the implications of sexual abuse at home, the psychologist said, depended on the duration of the abuse. She added that the support system from community could change the situation for victims. 

Dr Asha was of the opinion that incest existed across cultures and there was shame attached to it for victims who were often rejected by their families in the first stage. Actor and director Yasra Rizvi said the impact on a victim was altogether different when the abuser was her blood relative. “There is a sense of security attached with these relations and that is why [an abuse from these relations] has a very complicated impact.”

Dr Asha agreed and said there was another trauma for the victim if she took a stand against the abuser. “It is a complex trauma,” she remarked.

Acceptance of the abuse, the psychologist said, was the key to move on. She added that the victims must understand that the abuse hurt them, but it would not be the only part of their lives.

The panel also included journalists Lubna Jerar Naqvi and Adeela Akmal, writer B Gul and Asiya Arif. The talk was moderated by Uks Executive Director Tasneem Ahmar. The discussion included the need for understanding the survivors' trauma, providing support to them with empathy and the media's role in raising awareness.

A segment of the event, ‘From Horror to Hope’, presented incidents from the media symbolising a collective effort to transform the narrative surrounding incest from horror to hope.

Lubna said the teachers at schools should keep checking up with their students. She also stressed the need for imparting a good touch and bad touch knowledge among students. After the talk, Tasneem expressed gratitude to the panellists for the wisdom they shared. She affirmed Uks' commitment to fostering conversations that ignited awareness and societal transformation.