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Let’s talk about child rape | My daughter was raped by our ‘god’, says mother of rape survivor in Asaram case

In part two of our series, Let’s Talk About Child Rape, the mother of the 16-year-old raped by Asaram recounts a journey in which her daughter has now become her hero.

india Updated: May 29, 2018 07:14 IST
Hindustan Times
Child rape,Let's talk about child rape,Rape survivor
The mother of the 16-year-old raped by Asaram recounts a journey in which her daughter has now become her hero.(Illustration: Animesh Debnath)

Asaram was god for us. For years, our lives revolved around him. But one day, our god devoured all our happiness and ruined our lives beyond repair.

He raped my only daughter when she was 16.

The worst memory of my life is the moment when she confided in me about the rape. For the first time in his life, my husband passed out when I told him about it.

My daughter is the second of my three children, born four years after my eldest son.

My husband had established a respectable transport business by the time she was born. My daughter is closer to her father than she is to me.

My husband has always ensured the happiness of our daughter and that is the reason the incident hurt him the most. My daughter cried for hours after narrating her ordeal.

Everyone in the family did. Nobody spoke or ate that day. We were all numb. How can one face something which one has not imagined in the wildest of dreams? How can one accuse one’s god of ruining our lives? How can one fight one’s god?

While I was battling these questions in my mind, my husband decided to approach the police. Initially, he wanted to confront Asaram and ask him why did he do this to our daughter but Asaram’s aides sensed this and did not allow us to meet him.

Once a police case was registered, the first thing everyone advised us was to compromise.

They would say, ‘Compromise kar lo, Asaram bada admi hai” (Arrive at a compromise, Asaram is an influential man). They told me my daughter and family will be in trouble if we dared to challenge Asaram but we refused to back out.

My daughter gave us courage and told her father: “Papa aap ghabrao mat, mujhe kuch nahi hoga” (Don’t worry father I will be fine).

She cannot see us in trouble, at least not because of her. Though we are her parents, she cares for us more than we do for her.

Our battle for justice started once the case was registered. My daughter held back her tears and became the pillar of strength we needed.

My husband was the first to come in touch with Asaram in search of spirituality and god. He took me to one of Asaram’s satsangs in 2001 after which we became his followers.

Our trust in him was such that we removed our daughter and the youngest son from school and admitted them to an ashram run by Asaram. She was only 11 then.

We used to break ties with anyone who said anything against Asaram. My husband started donating a considerable part of his earnings to Asaram. He gave cash to Asaram on many occasions and got an ashram constructed for Asaram close to our house in Shahajanpur.

In return, Asaram took away our honour and launched a campaign to malign our image. He tried to get us killed but we fought on.

Read Part 1 | I fear my girls will ask me meaning of the word rape, says Gautam Gambhir

For two years, we travelled from Shahjahanpur to Jodhpur to appear in court hearings. She braved tough times and handled it calmly.

She became a hero in my eyes after I saw her recount the incident in front of the judge. Even I found it difficult to keep my calm while answering complex questions in court.

But she remained calm throughout. Our lawyer told my husband once that he was surprised at seeing the strength our daughter displayed in court.

The hearings went on for too long, which kept our family separated and affected us adversely.

My eldest son left his studies to help in the family business and my daughter had to leave studies for two years.

Things turned worse when we started receiving threats from Asaram’s thugs and some witnesses in the case were murdered.

I tried to shield my her from all this, but she asked me to tell her everything. On several occasions, my daughter told me that she was not afraid of sinners like Asaram.

Things improved once the court hearings were completed. My daughter completed her schooling and got enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree course. The family business started growing and the threats stopped.

Our efforts succeeded the day Asaram was convicted by the court. She hugged me for a long time when I told her about it. She had tears in her eyes, but she wiped them before they rolled down. She didn’t say anything but I saw happiness in her eyes. There was not much discussion about the verdict in the family.

The verdict has helped my daughter open up. I now see her smile more often. She has started playing badminton and is learning to paint.

Her marks have also improved and she is planning to prepare for the civil services examination.

Sometimes, my husband holds himself responsible for all the pain we suffered, but my daughter says there should be no regrets. She now wants to live every moment. I wish to be her mother in every life.

The author is the mother of the rape survivor in the Asaram case.

(As told to Chandan Kumar)

This is the second part of our series, Let’s Talk About Child Rape, which focuses sharply on the rising incidents of sexual violence against minors. You can read part one here.

First Published: May 29, 2018 07:10 IST