4 in 10 of transgender people in India face abuse before they reach the age of 18. This shocking statistic has highlighted the severity of the struggle for trans individuals in the country.
The statistic comes from a recent survey by the Swati Health Resource Centre. 2,169 transgender people took part in the survey, which has shed light on the negative experiences of abuse they have faced.
Over 700 of the survey takers claimed to have faced sexual abuse, which some respondents said started from the age of 5. Overall, the survey found that the individuals were most vulnerable between the ages of 11 and 15.
Over 1000 of the survey takers reported emotional abuse, which was found to be the most common form of harassment. Physical abuse was also found to be common.
44% of the individuals reported violence, which mounted up to 2,811 incidents. This statistic means an average of 3 incidents per person.
Aside from incidents of abuse, the survey gathered information about each individual’s education and standard of living. The results showed that 30% had not been educated. It also showed that 30% were living alone, which proved to be down to their families turning their backs on them.
A significant number of trans children are pushed to the point of dropping out of school. This happens as a result of them being unable to cope with the abuse they face within the school.
Sharmila – a 44-year-old trans activist in India – has spoken about the struggles that she has faced. As a child, she experienced physical and emotional abuse at home and sexual abuse at school. Sharmila also spoke about the difficulties as a transgender adult:
“Trans-women are often used by men for sex, only to be abandoned later.
“Marriages with men tend to end in separation because of familial and societal pressures”.
The opportunity for transgender people in India to be themselves seems somewhat impossible from this research. It’s clear something needs to be done to prevent this unjust abuse.