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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Rape survivor battles her way to justice, becomes a management professional

  Updated: Oct 10, 2019 23:15 IST
Hindustantimes
         

In a story of grit and determination, a 13-year-old rape survivor has risen to be a hotel management professional. However, now 21, she is still trying to find an answer as to how a father can rape his daughter, like her father did to her when she was a student of class 7 in 2011.

The survivor has a younger sister (daughter of her stepmother) who was in 5th class when this happened for the first time. The woman (survivor), a resident of Lucknow, did not get any support from anyone in the family as her stepmother turned a blind eye towards her ordeal.

“If something happens, you tell your parents. I did not have this option,” said the woman who choked emotionally while speaking. “Earlier I thought, my mother does not know about all this. But I was wrong,” she added. Not only that, she said, “My mother (stepmother) allowed one of her relatives to rape me and she wanted us to get married while he was much elder.”

“I tolerated everything because people around me were on one side and I was alone. In 2015, through the help of some people, I managed to write to the chief minister about the atrocities on me and I then was able to get an FIR registered,” she said, adding, “I had an option to commit suicide but I didn’t want to end my life.”

When she filed the case it was the last time she stepped out of her home and did not return. “It was my mother’s house. It was not easy for me to leave it but things were going worse each day,” said the woman.

Plunging into bitter memories, she said, “Initially, I worked as a domestic help for livelihood.”

The woman endured more than three dozen court appearances. “I meet my father, mother, and uncle in court. They keep asking me to take back the complaint,” she said. “At one point of time, I decided to forgive them but they were not even ashamed of their act,” the woman, added.

She also faced the “blame the victim” mentality. “They (accused) even tried to question her character,” said Archana Singh, in-charge Asha Jyoti Kendra, Lucknow, adding, “It was shocking for us to see a father talking such things about his daughter.”

With the help of social activists, she came in contact with the kendra. “Asha Jyoti Kendra helped me a lot. They gave me hope that I could live a normal life like others. I was one of few girls selected for a professional course in Bangalore and I joined the hotel in August this year,” she said, showing her certificate.

The case is still in court and her father and the uncle are still behind the bars while the mother is out on bail.

Now the woman is confident about her life. “I know I will not be dependent upon others. I would like to tell other rape victims to raise an alarm because things could take a turn any point of time,” she said, before leaving for the hotel.

 

First Published: Oct 10, 2019 23:15 IST

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