I am waiting for the day when I’ll be a judge after clearing the Provisional Civil Services (PCS) exam. I am striving hard to realise my wish with just three semesters short of clearing my graduation in law. I am sure I’ll crack the PCS. I want to punish people who have a sick mentality so no one calls an innocent girl “behen”, wins her confidence and then rapes her body, soul and, above all, trust.It’s been four years since I was raped by a student leader, but he still roams free. My rapist has now turned into an advocate and smiles shamelessly whenever he spots me at the court premises. His smile ignites anger in me and gives me a reason to steel myself. The rape was one incident, but the events that followed crushed me day after day.
I was a happy-go-lucky girl from a Dalit family in Dehradun, the youngest among four sisters. My father was a carpenter and my mother a domestic help.
After passing class 12 there was little opportunity to study further. But I insisted and went to a local college to sign up for a graduation course. That black day in July 2010 was the last day to submit admission forms. The forms were sold out but a student leader had three of them. Seeing me sobbing he offered me a form. My faith in humanity was restored, but it was to fade soon. He took my phone number, said that I was his sister and could call him whenever necessary.
In October, he told me he was trying to find me a job. On December 25, 2010, he offered to drive me for an interview. On the way, he told me the interview would be held in Mussoorie. I was oblivious of his ill intentions and : Rape sat in his car. He parked the vehicle at an isolated spot, locked the car from the inside and then sexually assaulted me.
He also shot a video of the act on his mobile phone. I cried and tried to remind him that he had called himself my brother and he shouted, “Sa***, yahan koi kisi ka bhai-vai nahi hai (There’s no brother here).”
He later dumped me outside my home. I was shattered but decided not to share my ordeal with my parents. But that turned out to be a mistake as the next day he threatened to make the clip public. I saw no other option but to give in to his demands. The sexual abuse became a daily affair until I finally decided to approach the police on January 20, 2011. After a four-hour-long wait, a female officer came over, slapped me hard and said, “Achhi ladkiyon ka rape nahi hota. Tera hi character kharab hoga (Good girls are never raped. There must be something wrong with you).”The officer called the rapist to her office. Both of them giggled and sipped tea right before my eyes. This was just the beginning of my woes. I was asked to visit the police station again and again for many days. My complaint was finally lodged on February 18. But the male investigation officer molested me several times.
My brother-in-law too made sexual advances after learning about the assault. On October 14, 2011 these people conspired to sell me to someone, but I managed to escape. Completely distraught, I planned to end my life. However, a female constable gave me the number of a local NGO (Samadhan). I called the organisation that offered shelter and help. In November 2011, I registered for the five-year-long law graduation course.
Subsequently, the NGO became instrumental in getting me nominated as a paralegal volunteer. Interestingly, police only recorded my statement after the organisation intervened. I was expecting a summons from court but there was no progress in the case. An RTI query revealed the accused had approached the high court to stall proceedings.
The biggest shock came last year when I found out police had filed a final report in my case. I have filed a review petition in court and the next hearing is in January.
I have not given up, and no matter how long it takes, I will ensure the rapist is dragged behind bars where he belongs.
(As told to Anupam Trivedi)