India

Barkha Dutt: India presenter reveals sexual abuse as a child

Barkha Dutt speaks at the Women In The World Summit on April 23, 2015 in New York City. Image copyright Getty Images

India's leading female news presenter Barkha Dutt has won praise for revealing that she was sexually abused as a child.

Ms Dutt said she had been abused by a "distant older relative" in her book titled "This Unquiet Land".

"Worse still, as a child unable to process the magnitude of what had happened - I was the one who felt grotesque and dirty," the book says.

Child sexual abuse is a taboo topic in India, and often covered up.

An extract of the book has been published on the website of the NDTV news channel, where Ms Dutt is a presenter.

He revelations have won her praise, with many pointing out the importance of highlighting similar incidents.

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter

According to a 2007 study conducted by India's ministry of women and child development, 53% of children surveyed said they had been subjected to some form of sexual abuse.

However, incidents are often never revealed, because perpetrators are often close family friends and relatives.

The extract also details an abusive relationship Ms Dutt went through as a college student in Delhi.

"When I told him that it was over between us he sprang up from the floor where he had been lounging, pinned me to the ground and lay on top of me, trying to sexually force himself on me. I slapped him. He hit me hard, grabbed me by my arm, shoved me around, slapped me and pushed me against the wall.

"Much later in life, I would discover that I was not alone; almost every young woman I knew had experienced something essentially similar - not just out on the streets, but within the so-called safe zone," she added.

The gang rape and murder of a student in 2012 in Delhi led to protests and new anti-rape laws in the country.

However, brutal sexual attacks against women and children continue to be reported across the country.

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