Karnal’s teenage rape survivor is still so weak that she can’t even walk to school
The woman said she had to leave home and shift to her brother’s house to avoid the prying eyes in her neighbourhood.india Updated: Jul 30, 2017 08:37 IST
Raped at by her father’s relative, she gave birth at the tender age of 12. She did not have a choice because by the time her pregnancy was detected, she was a week past the 20-week limit allowed for abortion. The child was given up for adoption. Now, 14 years old, the teen is studying hard with her mother’s support to reshape her life.
“My daughter is very intelligent. She used to top her class. I want to make her an IAS officer as I want to give her a dignified life,” said the teen’s mother, who is unable to make peace with the law. “Once a law is made, can no one go beyond it? Was it fair to make a 12-year-old girl give birth just because her pregnancy was a week above the permissible limit?” she told HT.
The scars are deep. “My daughter has stretch marks on her stomach. This is Haryana. In this state, they don’t even let daughters get born. Who will marry her?” she added.
“She is still so weak that she can’t even walk to school and complains of pain in her legs at night. Earlier, I used to give her sleeping pills. Even a woman’s body takes years to be normal after delivery. My husband is in jail in an unrelated case. I do odd jobs. I cannot take up a regular job because I will never be able to leave her alone,” she said.
The woman said she had to leave home and shift to her brother’s house to avoid the prying eyes in her neighbourhood.
She added that her fight started the day she went to a police station to register a case. “They asked me how I did not know my daughter was being raped. It was winter and my daughter used to wear jackets. I did not get to know about the pregnancy till I saw her changing clothes one day.”
To know the stage of pregnancy to file an abortion plea, she had to fight at government hospitals too.
“They do not accept ultrasound reports of private hospitals. So we went to a government hospital, where the doctor was not available, and then to another in Chandigarh. After the ultrasound showed the pregnancy was beyond 20 weeks — it was 21 — they put my daughter in the general ward. The doctors treated her like a woman not a child. I moved the court again and she was allotted a private room.”
While staying with her daughter for three months in the hospital, her fight for justice went on.
The accused, who was married, claimed he was a juvenile. “We were able to produce documents to show he was an adult. He got 12 years in jail,” said the teen’s mother.
“Is it the job of a mother whose daughter is going through such horror to prove that documents are fake? I was dealing with panchayats, threats and media glare...” she added.
The woman gets Rs 2,000 as monthly allowance for her daughter, whose medical and school bills are reimbursed by the education and health departments. “Except my brother’s family, I did not tell anyone about what we suffered, not even my son. I have never asked my daughter if she has any memories of the delivery. She does not speak much and studies for hours.”
The woman said, “I fought back as I am at least educated till Class 12. In the court, I saw uneducated parents of another girl, younger than my daughter, who was brutally raped. Her parents used to sit in the court for hours, helpless and clueless.”
The woman’s lawyer, Pardeep Sharma, who never charged her any fee, said her fight may bring some relief for other victims of sexual crimes in Haryana. “There should be both prevention of crime and care of survivors. The relief and reimbursements from health and education departments should be structured. Not everyone comes to the courts. And no victim should need to fight for state’s care,” added Sharma.