Daughter of Late Sitar Legend Ravi Shankar Says She Was Sexually Abused (Video)

3:05 AM PST 02/14/2013 by THR Staff

Anoushka Shankar speaks out about her childhood assault as an act of solidarity with the Indian gang rape victim.

Anoushka Shankar, daughter of legendary sitarist Ravi Shankar, who died in December, has revealed in a YouTube video that she suffered sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of a family friend for many years during her childhood.

Shankar, half sister of Norah Jones and an accomplished sitarist herself, said she was speaking out now as an act of solidarity with the women of India, in memory of the Delhi medical student who was brutally gang-raped Dec. 16 and died two weeks later. The rape incident led to street protests across India and has caused a nationwide moment of introspection over the rights of women in Indian society. 

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In the video, recorded in her London home and posted Wednesday, the 31-year-old musician says: "As a child I suffered sexual and emotional abuse for several years at the hands of a man my parents trusted implicitly. Growing up, like most women I know, I suffered various forms of groping, touching, verbal abuse and other things I didn't know how to deal with, I didn't know I could change."

She went on: "As a woman I find I am frequently living in fear. Afraid to walk alone at night, afraid to answer a man who asks for the time ... and enough is enough. I am rising, for the Delhi rape victim and women like her. I am rising with the amazing women of my country. I am rising for the child in me, who I don't think will ever forgive and recover from what happened to her.

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Shankar’s message is an action of support for the One Billion Rising campaign, which is calling on 1 billion people around the world to rise up today, Valentine’s Day, to demand an end to violence against women. The movement was founded by American playwright and feminist activist Eve Ensler. The campaign that began as “V-Day” calls on women around the world, and the men who support them, to walk out on their jobs, schools, offices, homes Feb. 14 and "strike, rise and dance."

Shankar did not name her abuser in the video.


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