Love matters

Written By

Lakshmi A

Vithika Yadav Love Matters Loading

Her memories are filled with visions of women and children packed like livestock into a truck, taken off to be sold as commodities. Her actions are filled with confidence and the know how to stop that truck and help those human beings.

In India, the land of the Kamasutra, where it is a three letter forbidden word, often snickered when heard, she wants to talk about sex and educate the younger generation.

She’s a woman on a mission and isn’t backing down from anything or anyone. Meet Vithika Yadav, co-founder of Love Matters.

How often have you, as a parent, or a friend, or a sibling, spoken openly and in a neutral, non-judgemental manner, to a budding child about sex, love,  gender, circumcision, LGBT, and sexual preferences? Don’t you suddenly feel tongue-tied?

SEX – can there be a more controversial word or act? On one hand, it is the basis of the existence of mankind. On the other hand, it is the foundation of most atrocities committed in any world – civilized too! Yet, in its pure form, Love, a four letter word, is the basis for sex.

What inspired Vithika to take the bull by its horns on this topic?  Did it spring out of her love for action and thriller stories, and her one-time dream to be a CBI officer? Well, sort of!

Her journey on this path started when she was in her post-graduation years. She came across information on human trafficking and action around it. It was an issue that had gained much attention at that point. Intrigued and wanting to know more about it, she interned with an organization in Delhi that was working on both interstate and cross-border trafficking issues. That experience opened her eyes to the life of millions of women and children, who were being bought and sold as commodities for the profit of a few others.

When asked, what made her feel passionate about this space, she says, “Every rescue operation that I was a part of, every interaction I had with a trafficked victim/survivor had a significant impact on me. Seeing girls packed in a tiny dingy room with little oxygen supply during a rescue operation, to seeing whole families bonded in fields, in homes for years, where I actually saw someone born in conditions of bondage and expected to live a whole life as a bonded laborer had a huge impact on me. How could I compare the realities of my life with someone else’s? How different our realities were! How fortunate a life I was living. These experiences shaped my thinking and drove my passion and purpose for the work I took on. “

Over the years, she worked diligently on slavery issues that took her from one country to another.  Soon, at a very young age, she came to be recognized as of one of the young leaders in the anti-slavery field in the world. While working in the US, with “Free the Slaves”, she gained a lot of experience and brought back that learning that she could use here in India, across states.

We asked her what spurred her to move from slavery to SRHR issues. “Actually, I have never seen rights issues in isolation – Because all of these rights issues are somewhere inter-related. From poverty to education, to slavery, to gender equality and sexual rights, my work in the communities with a diverse range of people had thrown a lot of stark realities of gender and sexuality in my face. So for me, it was always an inter-related issue and not a switch from one issue to the other.”

After having worked with BBC Media Action on a radio project on bonded labor, she took a pause to self-reflect on what was the next thing she wanted to do.  She then joined RNW Media to work on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for young people. She took that opportunity and went on to launch ‘Love Matters’ in India – an initiative that speaks openly about Sex and gender-related issues, making them more human and relatable.

So, lets put our hands together for this wonderful woman who stars the month of February in our SiyaWoman 2017 calendar.

If you have any questions or would like to contact Vithika, please drop us a line on, and we will help you make the connect.




Lakshmi Ananthamurthy, almost 40, is the founder and CEO of Siya. She is the Jack-of-all-trades, master of none and has dabbled in Music, Travel, Reading, Sudoku while working in senior level corporate positions across the globe. She is the mother of two young children, who keep her active but not enough to help her lose her baby weight. She tries hard to not take herself too seriously, and is seriously working at it.

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