Hang your head in shame or speak out the choice is yours

She was 13. An age when you are and should be a child, carefree and happy. Your life should be filled with laughter, friends and happy occurrences. You should be going to school, spending time with pals and coming back home. And above all you should be safe. But that is not what happened to a young 13 year old in a small town in Haryana, the state which is now (in)famous for a spate of rapes. For the past 3 months she has been raped by a 62 year old food street vendor  who lured with a plate of hot food. It took three months of being abused by a dirty old man who thought his plate of food who keep her quiet forever. I cannot begin to imagine the trauma that little child went through. The pain, the shame, the hurt, humiliation that little soul experienced as her barely nubile was being assaulted over and over again by a vile old man. How hungry she would have been to accept the first plate of food? Or maybe it was offered because the tithe was demanded and she has nowhere to run. She was caught in the wily trap laid by crafty old sod. Anyway it was too late.

The horror lasted for 3 months. Just trying to imagine what she must have gone through day after day makes my blood run cold. I also cannot fathom what was the tipping point that made her break her silence and tell her father. I must salute the father who believed his child and contacted the police. The rape was confirmed. But the outcome was not what one would expect from a civilised society. The victim was arrested but one wonders for how long but the school authorities and the local political entity decided to expel the child and her sisters!

Yes you read right, the victim, the girl who had been repeatedly raped was thrown out of school. This is justice India style. Hang your head in shame or speak out the choice is yours. But this is a reality and we cannot run away from it. A young rape victim has been denied her right to education because she was raped. How that works is impossible for me to comprehend. Even the warped and skewed logic of a politician who wants us to believe that 90% rapes are consensual cannot be applied here. The victim was 13, the rapist 62. In any law book it is a rape!

My mind travels back some 7 or 8 years when I was faced with a similar situation. In one of our primary classes a girl always sat alone, never next to the others. No one spoke to her. She came and went alone. She was about 12 or 13. When I enquired upon the reason of such behavior I was shocked to hear that she had been raped when she was 3 year old, the rapist was her neighbour. he had been caught and served a sentence and was freed. But the girl had been branded forever. We took matters in hand and ensured that she was accepted by her class mates. I even got her to learn karate and she was a star. Slowly she regained her lost confidence but sadly her mother died and the family moved away. I wonder where she is now. I just hope and pray she is safe.

How long will this terrible injustice last? When will we gather the strength to say enough is enough! I feel so helpless.