Abuse Never Becomes Us (A.N.B.U.) அன்பு, is a charity organization that works with those impacted by childhood sexual abuse within the Tamil community and aims to respond to sexual violence through culturally and linguistically appropriate programs and services. ANBU recognizes that childhood sexual abuse is a global issue. However, as part of the Tamil diaspora we can identify and relate to the Tamil community’s historical and present trauma and we believe in building and exploring our capacity to heal. The taboo and stigma associated with abuse as well as the intergenerational ripple effect of abuse is rampant within the Tamil community, as it is within many communities. We are committed to personal and social transformation and want to draw on our community’s strengths to address and prevent childhood sexual abuse. We aspire to uncover and implement healing methods specific to our community and shift how our community addresses sexual violence.
Founders of A.N.B.U., Tharshiga and Jenny, who both openly identify as survivors of child sexual abuse and are trauma-informed practitioners, searched for ways to address trauma and violence within the Tamil community.
In September 2015, Jenny published her story of child sexual abuse and incest on an international online Tamil magazine, Tamil Culture. She was the very first Tamil woman to openly disclose her story of child abuse and incest within the Canadian Tamil diaspora.
“This realization that I had to share my story with the world didn’t form overnight. I struggled for many years with the clouded awareness that childhood sexual abuse was in fact a reality in my life. It was easier to pretend as though it never happened. I stand before you today however, embracing my personal struggles so that I may share my journey with you.”
A fire sparked after this article resulting in many others sharing their own traumatic experiences, which ultimately led to the need to address child sexual abuse within the Tamil community.
Through sharing their stories, Tharshiga and Jenny hoped to create a safe space for others to acknowledge their own experiences and begin their own healing. They strongly believed that personal healing will pave the path for community healing. Thus began the inception of ANBU in March 2016 and the resilient and wonderful team we have in Canada today as well as the creation of the amazing ANBU UK a year later.
It is an incredibly humbling experience to stand where we stand today. We are so grateful for everyone who has stood by us – you are the fuel that has kept us ignited for this long.