Derek O'brien says he was sexually molested as a child, urges all to speak up

New Delhi: Sharing his harrowing experience of sexual molestation as a 13-year-old boy, TMC member of Parliament Derek O'brien urged celebrities, cricketers and people in public life to speak up about such traumatic incidents.

He shared explicit details of molestation in which as a kid he was inappropriately touched. The lawmaker was speaking in the Rajya Sabha while participating in the discussion on the bill for amending the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The proposed amendment provides for stringent punishment including death penalty for sexual assault on minors. O'brien said that the more people speak about the sexual abuse and share their experience with family members there are possibilities of its prevention. He appealed for taking all measures to prevent the heinous crime against child.

"I would like and urge more people especially in public life, if you have been sexually abused or harassed as a child, please come up and speak about it," the TMP legislator said. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019 provides for stringent punishment including life imprisonment for using child for pornographic purposes.

The new law is expected to discourage the trend of child sexual abuse by acting as a deterrent due to strong penal provisions in the Act. It intends to protect the interest of vulnerable children in times of distress and ensures their safety and dignity. There has been a rise in crime against children in the country in recent years. It is estimated that 1.6 lakh cases of child abuse are pending in states in 31 states and union territories (UTs). As per official data, about 12,609 rape cases were registered under the POSCO this year.

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