By Shelly Mahajan:
“21 year old DU student alleges rape by friend” (Headline reads)
Shaken? Mad? Feel like hitting the streets?
Now let me rephrase it, “Minor Dalit girl raped by two brothers in Punjab.” Are you still shaken, still mad and still feel like protesting?
On that fateful night when he grabbed me from behind in the dark, quarantined alley on my way to my aunt’s place, I knew it was happening to me. This time, it was my turn to be robbed of my wears, my dignity, to be assaulted and left in ignominy. Soon, I would be disowned, paraded and beaten for being an example of ‘it was her fault’, ‘she consented to it’ and largely for being a Dalit.
Because I am a Dalit- an outcast, I am destined to be crushed, broken and denounced till I cease to exist.
In my village, Dabra in Hisar, caste-based discrimination is predominant. A step towards disapproving caste rules results in shaming, abduction, sexual mugging and even mutilation as weapons of subjugation. So, I am not to be educated, elevated or socialised with upper-caste individuals/men and if I do, I am to be punished and raped. I may not be educated but I am aware of what does it mean to be raped as a Dalit woman in India.
My rape would not be followed by huge public outcry, political sympathies, news columns or even prosecution. There wouldn’t be any candles to light up a revolution or a banner that carries my name in bold with words ‘Justice For’ at the beginning.
A lower caste woman has no business to be worried about her sexuality. A society that doesn’t bestow upon her civil rights doesn’t bother to recognize her as the proprietor of her own body. She is out there, available and as Ram Singh told his mates, after raping the 23 year- old Damini, “not to worry, nothing will happen.” So, in this situation when no one decides to stand up for me, I have a couple of solutions to follow or offer at hand.
One. The nearby village council head advises girls to get married at sixteen, fulfill their sexual desires from their husbands and not look around and get raped.
Two. Suicide is another option to spare myself and my family from shame and slothful legal system.
Three. It would not be a bad idea to do a Phoolan Devi. Probably, I can kill my rapists, head to jail and inspire a film.
Four. Don’t forget, apart from all the publicized reasons behind rape, there’s another horrifying one. A lot of women get raped while stepping out of their houses at night to defecate in open. Probably one shall drop the idea of defecating altogether till changes fall in place.
Don’t be surprised. This is all that a rape victim is left with at her disposal especially if one is untouchable. Courtesy: Indian Government, the legal system, police and my upper-caste mates who may choose to read my story but do nothing to raise my voice. Am I right?