TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL VIOLENCE
When a girl is raped, her suffering doesn’t end with the crime. The stigma she faces from society and the challenges she faces while filing a police report only add to the trauma. There is, unfortunately, little or no justice for a rape survivor in our society.
I’m going through the same ordeal. Already distraught and traumatized after being raped, now I have to go through the process of defending and explaining my stand at every single step even though I am the one whose life has come crashing down. There is no support whatsoever from the police, the court or my family for that matter. What is a girl to do then? Give in to the situation? Compromise like everyone advises and pressurises her? Shed tears for the rest of her life like a weak insignificant being? Or commit suicide to end the intolerable pain once and for all?
Yes, I admit I’ve been raped. The stigma of being a raped survivor is a tag that lives with a girl until her last breath. Because even if she wants to forget it, no one lets her. And the sad and rather funny part is that everyone wants to somehow protect the rapist. The accused is protected limitlessly by everyone around him and the poor devastated girl is left to fend on her own. This is how it has been and perhaps this is how it will be.
Naresh Kumar* raped me. I met him through a common friend, Rinky*. He had said that since both my parents have passed away, his parents are like my parents and that he will marry me and look after me. And I ended up trusting him.
On the night of the first assault, I met Naresh and his friends. They had drinks and since I don’t drink I had a regular mocktail. Then Naresh’s friends took me to a hotel with another couple. Despite my resistance and even visiting a hospital earlier to buy medicines for periods cramps, they took me to the hotel.
Once we went to a room, Naresh closed the door behind me and before I could make sense of anything he started sexually assaulting me. Upon resisting, he turned violent and started beating me. He pulled my hair, slapped me, twisted my arms and when I tried to run away he got hold of me and pushed me on the bed and started biting, pinching and pressing my upper body. After a while, he left. He warned me to never try to leave him and threatened me with dire consequences if I told anyone about this. Distressed and scared I took no action then. I was really confused and had a severe headache. I believe there may have been some sort of drugs added to my drink.
Later on, I went to the other couple’s room to narrate the incident to which Manan* warned me of going to the police. I stayed back that night in the same hotel as I was in a lot of physical and psychological pain. I could barely move. Naresh met me in the evening after returning from his office and assured me that he loved me, will marry me and will be with me for life. He apologised for his behaviour. In the state of deep shock and emotional turmoil that I was in, I believed that the best option was to believe him. Naresh said he loved and somehow I took him to be my future husband. Despite being a Muslim girl, I was ready to marry a Hindu man as I am extremely secular and I was in love with him.
Next time we met, we had dinner, went to a party, and then Naresh said he will drop me home after we freshen up and leave after having breakfast in a hotel. I reluctantly gave in. Once we checked-in to the room, I went to use the washroom and the moment I stepped out, the lights were off. Naresh held me and pulled me to the bed. I told him I have to offer namaz but before I could realise or react, he stripped off all of my clothes. I started to cry incessantly but he put his hand over my mouth, and pulled off my panties and pushed his finger into my vagina. I was resisting a lot. He slapped me, pulled my hair and strangled me. He warned me to keep quiet or else he would kill me. He got on top of me and pushed his penis into my vagina. I was quivering with pain and shivering at the realisation of being raped. He left in some time leaving me in a state of deep agony and grave suffering. Before leaving Naresh said that it’s alright as if nothing has happened and that I am going to be his wife and that I should trust him. I was extremely shocked and confused. For the next coming days, I tried to contact him desperately.
I went to the same hotel that weekend to look for Naresh and found him there. The receptionist, a friend his is witness to this and admitted this at the time of the investigation. His friend Hardeep* and Naresh requested me to come to the room and Hardeep’s girlfriend was also there. I was furious and wretched by then. I then called the women’s helpline and also dialled 100 there. Before I could speak to them, the two men snatched the phone from my hands. Naresh was crying miserably. I slapped him twice and shouted a lot. After few failed attempts to be able to call the police, I left the hotel in a state of dismay in an auto. That evening is when I finally called the police on 100 number.
At the police station, Rinky came along with Naresh (who was waiting outside in the car). I informed the police and asked them to arrest him but the police didn’t bother at the time. I implored the police to call upon Naresh’s parents but of course, my plea wasn’t taken into account. Rinky was drunk and created a scene trying to pressurise me to drop the FIR and ‘sort-out’ the matter. The IO and a counsellor from an NGO were also present. Naresh was crying and begging me on the phone to not file the FIR. He kept emotionally blackmailing me taking the name of his dad (who is a heart-patient); knowing well that I had lost my father only three months ago. By the time I was finally done with filing the FIR, it was 4 am in the morning. The lady who had come to council said, “Madam you don’t look like you need counselling. You look smart enough.” She made me sign some paper from the NGO without any counselling and left.
Later on, there were repeated calls, messages and pleads from Naresh’s friends who tried to pressurise me into taking back the FIR and forgive him. They even suggested I take some money and compromise the matter. I stayed firm and didn’t give in.
I informed the police of these people but there was no action taken. No real attempts were made to arrest Naresh during that time either.
After a lot of effort, Naresh’s home was raided twice but he was not found at home. Apparently, he had been absconding since the inception of the FIR. After a lot of requests from my side and a visit to the DCP’s Office, the police raided his office in Noida. We got to know that Naresh had been coming to the office on several occasions and was in constant touch with his colleagues. He filed for bail the next morning. My IO and SHO gave him enough time to file for a bail and helped him.
I kept asking the IO as to why Naresh wasn’t arrested when all addresses were present after his mobile number was tracked. The SHO would hardly pick my call and when he did he would, he would make excuses like “Bharat Bandh” etc. All the co-operation and support that the police had provided me on the day of filing the FIR faded gradually in two weeks. No real efforts were made to arrest or interrogate Naresh or his friends. A lot of manipulation and possibly some “under the table” activity had presumably happened by this time.
Naresh got ample time to hire a lawyer and file for a bail. Incidentally, his brother Gaurav and his other friends went to the hospital where my younger brother works. I have no idea how they knew where to go as this information was available only with the SHO, and IO. They tried to put pressure on my brother and threatened a government on-duty doctor. My brother filed a police complaint at the local station and they apologised.
In his bail application, Naresh has claimed that I want to extort money from him. If that was my intention, it really was not very difficult to actually prepare and draft an actual FIR professionally, hire a lawyer and not be this scared and in dilemma about everything. I do not know the proper words and technicalities of filing my complaints. If I really was manipulating facts here, I would have, like Naresh, hired a lawyer and drafted a proper complaint and left no room for any mistakes. If I was manipulating facts, I would have done my homework. I didn’t do any of that. Extorting money from him is the last thing I’ll resort to.
Also, I’d like to mention here that I refused to undergo medical examination because I was already undergoing a severe mental trauma with no counselling or help from the state. All traces of semen and bruises have by now disappeared. I didn’t really see the point of an MLC. As an unmarried girl, it is very difficult to lay bare oneself in front of a gynaecologist even if it is a lady and have her examine you. I cringed at the mere thought of it. It is a very derogatory practice.
The respected judge had granted a two-week time period for the ‘investigation’. I have been, time and again, threatened by Naresh and his friends and family that I’ll be destroyed and killed if I pursue the complaint. There are people who follow me when I leave or return home. I’ve been threatened with an acid attack and life-long torture. Naresh has threatened to kill my brother if I don’t compromise. I was attacked by him and his friend a day before the second bail hearing on a bike and I filed a police complaint but no effort was made to arrest him. The police didn’t cooperate.
I plead to the court to reject Naresh’s bail and arrest him and have him punished as per the law for the harm and permanent damage he’s made in my life. There has already been enough distortion of facts and discrepancies. I have full faith in the system and law of my motherland.
I seek justice. I will never truly be who I was before this rape, the least I can get is punishment for the person who raped me. I’ve shown the courage to stand up for justice. I implore the system to help me. Is there no peace for me? Am I to be disgraced like this all my life? If I give in to the situation and commit suicide, who will be held responsible? Will it be the State? The Judiciary? The Executive? Who will be responsible for my end?
I plead the judiciary, the police and the state to take up my cause. Grant me justice. Provide me with legal and therapeutic aid.
Hoping and praying that this letter renders me the support and help I seek from the esteemed readers.
I rest my case here.
*Names have been changed.