We are a joint family living in a city slum. Not just my in-laws, even my husband’s cousins live nearby. With so many members around, two square meals a day don’t come easily.
As my husband’s daily wages aren’t enough to run the family, I too started working as a cook in some houses in a posh locality of Lucknow.
I have a six-year-old daughter. So, while I would go to work, she would be there at home with her grandmother and all other members of the family. Children played together and had free interaction with every member of the family and the relatives who live in the vicinity.
- It was only when the girl was being shown a ‘good and bad touch’ video in school that she began to cry.
- Teachers counselled her and came to know that the ‘chachu’ had abused her.
- The victim’s mother decided to lodge a complaint against her cousin-in-law with the help of her daughter’s school teachers.
- An FIR was registered and the case continued. But the culprit proved himself a juvenile and was saved from harsh punishment.
Among our relatives was my husband’s cousin whom my daughter called ‘chachu’. She would play with him and could never imagine that he could be so cruel. He sexually abused my little girl and she never shared it with me. Though she complained of pain in the stomach, I thought it was because of worms or other reasons.
It was only when she was being shown a ‘good and bad touch’ video in school that she began to cry. The teachers counselled her and came to know that the ‘chachu’ had abused her. She told that she was in pain but couldn’t explain.
The teachers called me to school and narrated the story. I asked my daughter and she also told me about whatever he did to her regularly, on the pretext of a game.
I couldn’t tolerate this with my daughter and strongly objected to it. My parents-in-law and all other members of the family, including my husband, did not support me. They said that I should ask my daughter to forget about it as raising voice against the incident would only spoil relationships and bring a bad name to our family and daughter.
I am not literate. I know that such cases can’t be left so simply. My daughter had undergone so much physical and mental pain and I could not tolerate it.
So, I decided to lodge a complaint against my cousin-in-law with the help of my daughter’s school teachers. An FIR was registered and the case continued. But the culprit proved himself a juvenile and was saved from harsh punishment.
For the poor and illiterate like us, such problems are common. But there is no support from family. I too have been boycotted for raising my voice. But I couldn’t forgive my child’s perpetrator.
(As told to Richa Srivastava)