Sexual crime against youth is a pressing and unfortunately ubiquitous issue that continues to draw major attention worldwide. Its causes and effects extend beyond cultural boundaries of region, religion, race, gender, or age. This problem is simply occurring anywhere and everywhere.
For example, in the United States, one in five girls and one in twenty boys fall victim to sexual abuse. This may sound disturbing, but it is nowhere close to the extreme cases of the problem; in India, surveys and studies have shown that over half of the subjects have been victims of sexual crimes. That is a one in two rate of a child being wrongfully raped, molested, or abused, and it goes far beyond being a jarring figure.
The severity of this issue is being called to light by several members of the local and international communities. Locally, the Federation of Indo Americans (or FIA) has placed sexual crimes as the central charitable cause for its annual Festival of Globe (formerly Festival of India). An extension of last year’s focus on female empowerment, this concentration aims to educate the youth about the severe issue facing the world and get them involved in raising and spreading awareness about it.
Internationally, Bollywood film star Raveena Tandon is starring in the upcoming Bollywood film “Maatr – The Mother.” “Maatr” is a story that speaks on the institutionalized blind-eye practice of India’s criminal justice system towards sexual crimes on women and children. In the film, Tandon plays a mother who is gang raped along with her daughter and subsequently fights against all odds for justice.
“Maatr” is having its world premiere within the month-long Festival of Globe extravaganza this August. The movie’s theatrical debut will be accompanied by a meet-and-great, Q&A panel with Tandon and director Ashtar Sayed, and public forum. It will take place at Camera 12 Cinemas in San Jose, California on August 12th, 2016. Tickets to the event are priced at $50 each. More details on the event can be accessed at www.fogsv.org.
Through this aggressive campaign on raising awareness against sexual crimes, FIA hopes to influence not only the Indo-American culture, but also those surrounding it in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond towards positive change. This change will lead to actions that will break down the systemic issues surrounding the central problem of ubiquitous sexual crime against children. The Festival of Globe’s international focus aims to bring multiple cultures and perspectives together to solve such deeply varied issues through global cooperation.
Justin (Jaspreet) Sidhu