A young life imprisoned in anguishUpdated: Nov 18, 2019 22:50 IST
Raped at 11, mother at 12 Teen rape victim battling penury and social disapproval yearns to continue studies
LUCKNOW A dilapidated structure, which did not have a door till a few months ago, is home to a 14-year-old- rape survivor who is struggling to overcome not only the sexual assault but also poverty and mental trauma.
Nearly two years ago she delivered a baby boy as the outcome of the rape, but since she or her family (mother and a brother), were not in a position to rear the child, it was surrendered to a shelter home. The girl feels she has lost everything: her reputation, future and son, but the villagers blame her for the incident.
Back in 2016, she was in Class 4 when a person living in her neighbourhood raped her and threatened her to not tell anyone or else she would face dire consequences. “I had gone to fill a bucket of water when he dragged me to the toilet and raped me. He threatened me to not tell my mother or anyone else,” she said, adding, “I didn’t know I would be pregnant.”
Later when she was four months’ pregnant, she had to tell her mother due to emerging health issues.
“I told my mother about the rape first. She slapped me and blamed me for this all. Later when I told her about the pregnancy, she got worried,” said the survivor.
The mother said, “We went to the police station at 11 pm in the night and reported the incident. The next day the cops reached our house and took us to the house of the accused. Later he was arrested.”
But ever since, the hapless girl has been confined to the rickety walls of her house, with a few clothes hanging from a rope and some utensils stacked in a corner. She steps out to address nature’s call even before the sun rises.
“We don’t have a toilet and I go out early morning so that I don’t have to face the people,” she said, adding, “I know they are blaming me for all this .”
Her mother said, “Some women blame my daughter. I fail to understand as to why people are not able to see our plight. My elder soon broke all ties with us and my daughter’s future is bleak. She wants the government to help her daughter in studies so that she may safeguard her future. “Am I asking for too much? All that I want is for my daughter to study,” she said.
After the rape, the girl (in Class 4 then) quit studies as her health deteriorated and also because some villagers taunted her. “I wanted to study and play in school like other students,” she said, looking at her books damaged by rainwater which had seeped through the broken roof.
“When I came home after surrendering the child to the shelter home, I thought all would be well. But when I stepped out, people were curious to know about the incident. They wanted me to narrate it as if it was a story from a school book,” she said.
“They were not sympathising with me but enjoying the story. Then it became a routine, so I stopped going out,” she said, adding. “I want to go to school but I am afraid of all this and I don’t have resources to shift to another school or place.”
The girl has been awarded compensation of Rs. 3lakh but she can only use the money when she is 18 years old.
The evening of December 30, 2016 has left her emotionally scarred. “I remember each and every second of that evening. It was most painful for me, physically as well as mentally,” the girl said.
With tears in her eyes, she said, “Later, when I became pregnant, my heart bled when I thought how I would bring up this child. What will be my future?” After surrendering the child to a shelter home, she and her mother went to see him only once.
The accused is out on bail and lives near the victim’s house. “The major reason behind my daughter confining herself to the house is that the accused is roaming free,” the girl’s mother said, adding, “I am illiterate. I don’t know what is happening in the case. I just want him to be behind the bars.”
A cop said, “The case is in court. We have submitted the charge-sheet against the accused.”
A villager Dinesh Kumar said, “We are all busy in our lives. No one helps them. The mother and daughter are battling all odds just for survival.”
When asked about people blaming her for the incident, he said, “They belong to a particular community. Others are dominant so opinions are made on the basis of power.”