The daughter of legendary Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar said Thursday in a video released for a global women’s rights campaign that she had been sexually abused as a child by a family acquaintance.
Anoushka Shankar, herself a famed sitar player who used to play with her late father, said she had decided to go public in support of the One Billion Rising campaign against violence against women.
She dedicated her message to an Indian medical student who was gang-raped in a bus by six drunken men on December 16 in New Delhi, and later died in hospital from horrific injuries.
The crime sparked violent protests and a round of soul-searching in India about the treatment of women.
“As child, I suffered sexual and emotional abuse for several years in the hands of a man my parents trusted implicitly,” Shankar said in the message posted on YouTube from her home in London.
“Growing up like most women I know I suffered various forms of groping, touching, verbal abuse and other things like I didn’t know how to deal with, I didn’t know I could change,” Shankar said.
“Enough is enough. I am rising. I am rising for (the Delhi gang-rape victim) and women like her. I am rising with the women of my country,” the US-born musician said.
Events marking the One Billion Rising campaign, timed to coincide with Saint Valentine’s Day, are planned across the Indian capital, said Kamla Bhasin, a women’s activist leading the campaign in South Asia.
Annie Raja, general secretary of the National Federation of Indian Women said the group would utilized events of the day as “pressure tactics” on the government to forge tough laws to tackle atrocities against women.
“The unfortunate gang-rape has given us an opportunity to keep the debate and discussions going,” she said. NFIW is the co-organizer of One Billion Rising programs in several Indian states.