In this episode of Ganatheya Dudimegagi Navu Manushyaru, Sowbhagya and Usha talk about the endemic levels of violence that sex workers and members of sexual/sexuality minority communities are forced to live through.
The activists quote an example: A sex worker who used to conduct her business from home once welcomed a client. What she was unaware of was that aside from the services, he was also taking a keen note of all her weaknesses. One day, he returned with four goondas (thugs), blackmailed her with the threat of leaking her private pics, and took away all her money and jewellery. This woman later contacted Sowbhagya and the Swathi Manae team helped her file a police complaint. The sex worker is consoled by the thought that at least the police have responded to her problem. She is a divorcee who has been staying with a partner. This partner would visit her once every 15 days and he was unaware of of her sex work, which put her in a very vulnerable position. “Swathi Manae stays with women like her and supports them when they face the risks of violence,” says Sowbhagya.
Usha talk about the violence that people face for being sexual/sexuality minorities. This violence often starts at home and at the hands of their own family members. “These parents start dictating what the children can and cannot do, and that they cannot transition if they are transgender. So, these persons are then forced to leave their homes and their families.” This moving out often happens at a very young age, pushing the unsupported persons towards sex work or begging to earn a living. “But things are changing, slowly. Many families have now realised that the world is changing and that their children are not the same. Because of the pattern of violence that these persons have suffered, members of sexual minority communities tend to feel the most happy and safe within their own communities, as opposed to their families.”
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Written by: Ramya Gowda K
Edited by: Shruti Sharada