Ruhi’s Story

There was a small innocent girl named Ruhi. Ruhi used to live in Jammu with her family. The family consisted of her mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, paternal uncle, aunt and another paternal aunt and with her husband, Fufaji. Ruhi was 7 years old and she was very pretty. She was also good at studying.

Ruhi had a teddy bear named Punnu. Ruhi's mother gifted the teddy on her 5th birthday. Since then, the teddy bear became Ruhi's best friend. Ruhi was loved by everyone at home. But Ruhi was very close to her mother and Punnu. She used to share everything with her best friend Punnu. She used to share her joy and sorrow with it, but never used to get depressed at all.

One day, many guests had come to Ruhi's house. Her paternal aunt and her husband, Fufaji, had also come. Ruhi was sitting in her room playing with her teddy bear Punnu. Suddenly someone came inside her room and when Ruhi saw him, it was Fufaji who was standing near the door. Seeing Fufaji, Ruhi was very happy. Fufaji came inside the room and gave chocolates to Ruhi and started staring at her. Then suddenly the electricity got cut. Something happened that day due to which Ruhi became quiet. The same thing kept happening with her. Ruhi had no idea what was happening to her. She became distant and scared because Fufaji threatened her that if she told this to anyone, then no one would believe it. He also threatened to kill her parents. Since then Ruhi always used to be with her mother and was very scared and sad. She kept on telling everything to her best friend Punnu from the incident of that fateful day to the ongoing abuse. One day, an NGO called Roshni came to Ruhi’s school. Ruhi was sitting in her class in despair. A worker from the NGO came inside the class, asked everyone their names and started a class. The lady taught about sexual education and the class started listening to her carefully. Ruhi remembered everything that happened to her. Ma’am said, “today we will study good touch and bad touch”. Till date, Ruhi felt that whatever happened was her fault too. When the class came to an end, Ruhi understood very well and a ray of hope started emerging in her mind. Ruhi made up her mind and stood up. She asked, “Ma’am, if this happens to us, then who should we tell first?” Ma’am advised that they should talk to their parents in such cases. That day Ruhi came home and she told everything at home but no one believed her apart from her mother. Her mother knew that Ruhi never lies and especially, something like this. When Ruhi's mother started to ask about that matter, everyone at home said, “let this thing stay at home. Why will you take it outside? People will laugh at us and will make up things about the girl. Then what will she do? What will happen to the aunt?” Everyone was saving themselves. No one was thinking about Ruhi. Ruhi and her mother were left alone. 

One day, Ruhi went to her school and told everything to the NGO lady. Finally, Ruhi asked her to help. Then she went to Ruhi's house and after much persuasion, Ruhi finally got the support of her family. After her mother, the first support came from her aunt. In the end, Ruhi got justice and her uncle, Fufaji was convicted.

This story is based on a fictional event but it may happen to anyone. But in India, the number of such cases are increasing. According to NCRB data, 32,608 cases were reported in 2017 and 39,827 cases were reported in 2018. As mentioned, sexual abuse of children is increasing in India. If we look at all the states in terms of number of cases, the top 3 states in 2016 as per NCRB data are Uttar Pradesh (16,079), Maharashtra (14,559) and Madhya Pradesh (13,746). Along with these states, Odisha is in 12th place and Odisha's cases are 3286. A quick reflection in NCRB’s figures in the context of Odisha shows an increase in the number of child sexual abuse. There is a 40% increase in the cases from 2015 to 2016. Another worrisome problem is that in Odisha, out of all, 63% of rape cases in 2016 are girls under the age of 18. It has been seen in 94.8% of the cases of rape in India that whoever does this, is one of the familiar faces. It is seen in 10% of the cases that children are raped by their own family members and relatives, just like in our story of Ruhi where her relative is the culprit.

In India, there is POSCO act, 2012, which is a comprehensive law to protect children from the crimes of sexual exploitation, sexual harassment and pornography. There is a helpline which is open 24X7 and 365 days, with the help of which any child can contact them (helpline number - 1098) for any help at any time. Additionally, I think that there should be classes on sex education in every school by NGOs so that we will be able to talk to children clearly and will be able to communicate with them as well.


Sarani Ganguly

As a young leader I want to do something so that people are treated equally and their is no social discrimination and there is no violence against children.



Youth Voices for Change is an initiative of the Down To Zero Alliance that seeks to prevent the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents by amplifying the voices of young leaders for change in Latin America and Asia.