How A Rape Victim And Her Family Is Being Crushed By The 'System'
In the hinterland of Uttar Pradesh, a small village in the Bahraich district, about 680 km from New Delhi, a 16-year-old girl, unlike other girls her age, is taking care of her two-year old child. As reported by Sarvapriya Sangwan of BBC, she was raped by a person known to her family in 2016. While two years have passed since the heinous crime was committed, there has been no headway in this case and the teen is yet to receive justice.
Teen raped by a man known to her
The victim belongs to a Schedule Caste. Her mother passed away long back and her family consists of her father and an elder sister. Belonging to a very poor socio-economic background, the father managed to get her elder sister married somehow. After coming to know that in Lucknow, the government pays for the marriage of poor girls, he sent his younger daughter to Lucknow with a man to avail the benefit. The father said, “Forget about helping, he raped my daughter in Lucknow on knife’s point.” The father also alleged that he raped her again while returning to the village.
Out of fear, the teen did not tell anyone about the incident. The matter came to light only after six months when the baby bump started showing. On June 24, 2016, the victim’s father registered a case against the accused in the nearby police station. As per law, if anybody is accused of committing a crime against the people from Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribe, he/she cannot get anticipatory bail. However, it is up to the court to grant or deny bail after arrest.
Complete apathy shown by police
Even after two years, the results of the DNA tests are still awaited to proceed with the case.
When BBC investigated the case, the Circle Officer’s representative said that there are 5,500 DNA test related cases in Lucknow alone and they cannot arrest anyone without evidence.
When the question about the compensation was raised with the police, it was told that on the basis of FIR alone the SC/ST victim is eligible for 50% of the compensation. According to rules issued by the central government in April 2016, SC/ST rape victims are to be given a compensation of Rs 5 lakh and victims of gang-rape are eligible for compensation of Rs 8 lakh. However, two years have passed since the incident and the victim is yet to receive the Rs 2.5 lakh compensation for which she is eligible.
When this was brought to the notice of the police, they reportedly said, “The compensation had to be provided two years back, but never mind, we will send tomorrow.”
The most shocking part is that the uneducated father and the victim are not even aware that they are eligible for such compensation. Even the lawyers representing the victim did not tell them about the compensation.
It is very hard to believe that a victim apart from bearing the psychological trauma, was also made to suffer in the hands of authority by not granting her the compensation which she rightly deserves.
Another major loophole in the case is that while the family of the victim says that she was 14 years old when she was raped, the two-year-old medical report shows her age to be 19. Further investigation revealed that the medical report was itself tampered with. This means that the case has to be registered under the POCSO act as well, but FIR has not mentioned this.
The victim’s father, with the help from the village head, has written to 11 authorities, including the President and the Prime Minister, however with no result.
The victim and her family are left alone to suffer. As of today, the victim is married to the relative who bore the medical charges, while her child stays with her father.
Read more: BBC