MP: Rape, domestic violence survivor overcomes odds with karate
When she lost her father at 10, it was just the beginning of this 20-year-old woman’s troubles. Her family could barely make ends meet and she remained unlettered. She lived with her sister in Indore for some time before she began working as a cook to live on her own in 2016. The woman started earning enough to sustain herself and educate her brother. Things appeared to be looking up until her employer’s 19-year-old son allegedly raped her repeatedly for over a year and threw her life out of gear again. The traumatised woman, then a minor, could muster courage and lodged a case only in February 2018. Over the last two years, she has overcome more odds, learnt to read and write as well as karate, and won three medals in local tournaments.
The woman’s alleged rapist was arrested but she could barely breathe easy as a local council in her village in Uttar Pradesh’s Lalitpur ostracised her family. She was forced her to marry the alleged rapist in January 2019, who was by then out on bail. Her troubles appeared to be unending. “[After marriage] started another phase of sexual violence. The man who raped me was my husband now. He constantly pressured me and subjected me to mental and physical torture as he wanted me to say in the court hearing the rape case that I was not a minor when I was raped.” When she got pregnant, she was given pills for its termination on the pretext of regular medication.
By June 2019, she had had enough and decided to fight back and refused to go back to her husband’s house despite pressure from even her family to retract her statement about the rape. “I was even insulted at public places but the pressure only affirmed my resolve to fight.”
The woman shifted to a woman and child development department hostel and Childline Indore, an NGO, offered her karate classes. After learning karate for one month, she used her skills to teach three men sexually harassing her a lesson. “It gave me immense confidence and I started learning karate more seriously.”
Childline Indore director Waseem Iqbal said she is among a few minor rape survivors, who have shown grit and determination to fight odds. “She won three medals in just six months in different tournaments from October 2019 to December 2019 in Indore, Bhopal and Dehradun organised by different organisations affiliated with the Karate Association of India,” he said. “...[She] has now learnt writing and reading English and Hindi to follow the proceedings of her legal battle. She is not supported by anyone from her family.”
Her karate coach, Saeed Alam, said he has never seen a more determined and passionate woman than her. “We also treat her as a student without showing sympathy to her to make her mentally strong.”
The woman’s lawyer, Shanno Khan, said her client has filed a petition also in the Madhya Pradesh high court to have her alleged rapist tried under the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act. “I have never seen a brave girl like [her]. She has faced the accused and his family bravely in the court without any hesitation.”