While speaking on the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on July 24, in Rajya Sabha, Trinamool Congress member Derek O’Brien spoke about him being sexually assaulted as a child.
O’Brien ‘happily and strongly’ supported the POCSO (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which seeks to award death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children and providing strict punishments for other crimes against minors.
Derek O’Brien Recalls Childhood Trauma
“With a lot of pride and sadness and hurt but I think India needs to know because my family knows, that on a bus in Kolkata as a 13-year-old after doing tennis practice, wearing short pants and a T-shirt, I got on to a crowded bus and I don’t know who it was, but with my short pants and T-shirt I was sexually molested, it was a reason enough for an unknown man to ejaculate at shorts of this boy,” he said.
Derek O’Brien recalled the childhood trauma and said that he hid this incident for a long while. He further added that he eventually did tell his parents about it, but it was much later in life.
He said that children should be encouraged to speak up and not hide instances of them getting abused or assaulted. Several other leaders too said that it was important to create awareness among children about good touch and bad touch.
POCSO (Amendment) Bill, 2019
The POCSO Amendment Bill was introduced by Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani in Rajya Sabha on July 23. After getting passed in the upper house, it is now sent to the Lok Sabha for its approval.
Apart from the death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children, the amendment also calls for fines and imprisonment to curb child pornography.
The amendments were heartily welcomed by leaders across party lines. While supporting the amendments, Congress leader Vivek K Tankha said that he welcomes the bill, but the stringent provisions have not been successful in stopping such incidents.
He said that the conviction rate in such cases was a mere 30%. He also highlighted the fact that the National Crime Record Bureau, after 2016 has no data on offences against children.