I knew my rapist; we had met through my friends in the medical college where I was doing my PhD. I used to think of him as an acquaintance and had helped him in his studies.
The day he raped me, it was I who invited him over to my paying-guest accommodation in South Delhi; he had been insisting that I prepare Bengali food for him.
The thing is, I’m from a small town in Bihar. My father is a heart patient and I have a younger sister at a marriageable age. I thought, if I spoke out, my family and my sister’s prospects would be ruined.
I told two of my close friends. “Nobody will trust you, this will be a black mark on you,” they all said. Then they told me if he wanted to marry me it would all be all right. I got confused. I thought if I just carried on with my studies and married him, it would all correct itself.
For a year and a half, he kept stalling but I was so afraid that I let the relationship continue. He would come over using some excuse and rape me. He even raped me when I was very sick with Dengue.
As time passed, his demands grew. He would ask for money or other help and gave me little option but to comply with his wishes. If I tried to argue, he would hit me. There were days I didn’t have any money for myself as I would have given him all my money.
At that time I felt dead inside. I constantly asked myself what would happen if he didn’t marry me; where would I go; what would people think of me. I was so ashamed that I couldn’t make eye contact with people. You see, I had let him into my room. I was sure nobody would believe that I was raped. In our society, people always blame the girl.
Eventually, I got pregnant with his child and he forced me to abort it. After that, he said he wouldn’t marry me because of my caste.
Shattered, I pleaded with him; I fell on his feet crying more than once. Each time, he would hit me and then rape me. During this period, I often went to my college with bruises and lied to people who enquired.
In August this year, he, along with two others, came to my college and dragged me out of my classroom by my hair. In front of my classmates and professors, he assaulted me while his friends shouted that I was a prostitute.
Some people ignored what was happening and others watched the ‘drama’ with amusement. Only much later, after he hit me with a brick, did some senior students took us to a room. There he told them I was an “abnormal psycho girl.” The whole time I was in a state of shock. I kept thinking: Am I alive, is this a dream? Humiliated, I was contemplating suicide, but my seniors and professors convinced me to register a complaint. I went to a South Delhi Police Station to register the complaint, but I went there without a lawyer, which was a big mistake. The cops told me what had happened was a normal part of life and it was my fault because I had allowed him in my home. The IO (investigating officer) made me write a complaint, which she dictated. Later on, I realised she had diluted the FIR (First Information Report) entirely made it sound as if I was overreacting. She refused to register a complaint on the assault on me at the college. For that, she said, I should complain to my institute.
I also found out that my rapist had been in touch with the cops. He had visited the station the same day I did and told them I was a crazy woman.
I still haven’t told my parents but people in my college know. They ostracise me because no one wants to be involved in something as messy as rape.
The day he was sent to Tihar Jail after police filed a charge sheet – he was in court along with his lawyer – he turned around to face me and said, “I’m going to get out of here and then I’ll see you. What will a lone girl do? Nothing.” My rapist is out on bail, and I’ve been getting anonymous calls threatening me and my family with harm if I didn’t withdraw the case.
(As told to Avantika Mehta)