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'Children should open up': Khushboo Sundar on sexual abuse by her father Khushboo Sundar
Image Credit: Facebook/ Khushboo Sundar

'Children should open up': Khushboo Sundar on sexual abuse by her father

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 08 Mar 2023, 11:23 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: Actor-turned-politician Khushbu Sundar, who recently went on record saying he was sexually abused by her father when she was eight, has said that children “need to open up” about the abuse they face but they often don’t do since in most cases, the perpetrators are family members or people known to them.

“I feel children need to open up… The main fear and thought that comes to their mind is that society is going to ask them [questions]… What did she do to provoke the men, what was she wearing, was she behaving friendly with the harasser etc. Moreover, most of such child abuses happen within the family or by people known to them. So children should open up,” the BJP leader told The Indian Express.

Khushbu, who was recently appointed member of the National Commission for Women (NCW), had earlier told online news portal Mojo Story that she had been sexually abused at the age of eight.

She went on to say that she had endured the same in silence till age 15, after which the family severed all ties with her father.

On Tuesday, she told The Indian Express that her statement on the abuse she faced “was not a planned” one but she is glad to reveal her childhood spent “fearing the consequences”.

“When I was undergoing that as a child, I had responsibilities too. I had to worry about my brothers and mother. Like any other predator, [my father] would threaten me about the consequences if I spoke about it to others… about the harassment I faced. He used to threaten me about harming my mother and three brothers. That is how it happens in child abuses. Children go through such abuses fearing consequences, and [the attackers] continue to abuse more people because that one person kept quiet,” she said, adding, “If there were strict laws like POCSO then, I would have taken my father to court.”

Responding to the reactions to her remarks, she said, “I can’t believe the amount of calls I have been getting from known and unknown people, all of them telling me that they will also gain the courage to speak up one day.”

Khushbu now lives with her mother “who is fighting dementia”. Her father, she said, “died last year, somewhere in Mumbai”.

“After we had a better life, he tried his best to come back. He sent messages. But my door was always shut. I think he died last year… I have never spoken to him in the last 37 years. Like we say, karma bites back. He had three sons but none of them went for his funeral,” she said.

Born to a Muslim family in Mumbai, Khushbu, 52, started out as a child actor in the 1980s. In many of her films, she played strong-willed, independent women who fought against patriarchal oppression and society’s standards.

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