So, a young woman reached out to me a night ago and shared her story anonymously.
This young woman is independent professional living in a metropolitan in India. As a child, she recalled living in a small village somewhere in central India in a large joint family.
From class 5th to 8th, she was raped by her chacha. As a child, she had no idea what he was doing but what she remembers to this day is the FEAR. He would draw her away into a room in isolation and make her do all sorts of nasty things. This chacha was one of those elderly respected people in the family who your parents make you feel scared of as this person may be strict or violent etc.
This girls’ parents also used to scare her with that Chacha’s name when they wanted her to do her homework or finish her food. Only, they didn’t know the real reason why she was scared of him. This man himself has two daughters slightly younger than her and a wife who he abuses, calls b-word, in public, so imagine the terror of this man.
At some point even when the abuse stopped, he never showed regret or remorse, rather to this date tries to make lewd sexual remarks at her when he finds her in isolation even for a moment. When she displays anger, he starts hanging around and forcibly touching her 6 years younger sister while giving her threatening looks (to convey the message that if she shows anger or opens her mouth, his next victim will be her baby sister)!
At this point, quite understandably you would want to know WHY DIDN’T SHE TELL HER PARENTS? I know because I too was curious if the family knows anything at all.
Let’s talk about the FATHER first.
No, she has NOT told her father and she probably never could. If her father ever came to know about this, there will be either one of these two situations and I want you to tell me WHAT WOULD YOU DO knowing these situations.
Situation A: She tells her father that she was raped as a child by her Chacha. He DOESN’T believes her because that Chacha is the man he knows from way longer and is the man around whom he has spent his entire life. He already thinks this daughter of his is rowdy, bold and angry so she is probably making this up to create a storm in the family. He forcefully arranges a marriage and sends her to the first bidder before this gets out and the family honor is ruined! Mind you this is upper caste, wealthy family in a small village where child marriage is rampant and this girl having an education and job in a metro city is already ‘too much liberty’ in the eyes of rishtedaar.
Situation B: Her father believes her! But then what? He might get angry enough to actually murder his brother? What then? Her father goes to jail and their family is scattered. If the father doesn’t kill his own brother, he has to hang out and live side by side with this man for eternity. Knowing that this is your daughter’s rapist, what father would survive and not get a heart-attack living in this situation?
To your surprise, she didn’t CRY while giving me details of the abuse and the things that bastard did to a 10-year-old child.
You know when she CRIED? While talking about her father.
She said that later in her teenage years when she got some freedom to leave the house on her own, she would often spend long durations outside the home and often come home at about 9pm.
Fro this defiance of house rule to be home before dark, her father would get angry and beat her up.
She thought to herself that first she was SAFER OUT IN THE STREET than in her own home where the rapist was a few feet away.
And secondly, getting BEAT UP by your father for 10 minutes is better than getting raped for another day.
She CRIED, telling me that when her father used to beat her up, she would have that pain stock up inside her but she would always be afraid that if she ever told her father the REAL REASON WHY she likes to stay away from the home, the SHEER GUILT would destroy her father, and she wept profusely.
To all the people in the HANG THE RAPIST BRIGADE… Just tell me this-
Knowing that the rapist is the victims’ Chacha, would the family let her REPORT the rape or would they make her shut her mouth?
NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT THE MOM:
For years she didn’t tell her mother about any of this.
Recently her mother has been convincing her to get married. For natural reasons, this girl, like every other survivor of abuse, has TRUST ISSUES as well as INTIMACY ISSUES.
She wanted her mother to understand that she needs someone who would respect her physical space and consent because if one more man exercises his physical power over her for rape, she would NOT be able to cope, she might even kill herself.
Her mother’s reaction was “ok, whatever happened is in the past, let’s not talk about it”.
There was no sympathy, no empathy, no disbelief or belief.
The girl herself has no idea why her mom acted the way she did and at first, instance neither did I.
But on deeper thought, I think it is about the concept of shame and honor.
She didn’t want to discuss or encourage her daughter to discuss this because she is aware that if such a thing gets out:
The father would have to either kill his brother or feel like a failed father by hanging out with the daughter’s rapist for the rest of his life.
Everyone in the large, high profile, upper-class Hindu family would blame the girl and she will be considered ‘damaged goods’ as they say in conservative societies.
Either way, this would NOT help the daughter in any way now that this is from the past. So, better swallow the pain. Also, there may be another reason.
She said her ‘BADEY PAPA’ and his team of cousins and friends GANG RAPED the poor Dalit woman who used to pick GOBAR at their place because they were all ZAMINDARS.
That poor young woman was paid off after she told about it to the son of BADEY PAPA and many other people and no one ever saw the inside of a police car let along with jail.
So maybe the mother knows how the men in this family treat women so better keep things hush hush and not draw attention to their daughter who would be tagged as the characterless, problematic, drama queen in the family.
So here is my QUESTION TO THOSE ARGUING YESTERDAY and all others in general:
You are CURRENTLY UNDER LOCKDOWN RIGHT?
CONSIDER IF YOU HAD YOUR RAPIST LIVING WITH YOU… WHAT WOULD THAT FEEL LIKE? KNOWING THAT YOUR RAPIST IS JUST A FEW FEET AWAY FROM YOU…
AND NOW IMAGINE IF YOU WERE 10 YEARS OLD AND LIVED WITH THE RAPIST AND WEREN’T ALLOWED TO GO ANYWHERE? What would that be like?
She cried and cried when I asked why she got beaten but never told her father why she was avoiding getting home. And then I realized and said “Beti ka DIL hai na”… No daughter wants to see her father live and die with a pang of guilt this big… The guilt that he failed to protect his own little princess from the monster that lived with them in their house. And this monster is still alive and lives with her parents and every time she visits home, she faces him. Still.
There is no GYAN and no discussion here today. I just want you ALL to imagine being in this girl’s shoes… Imagine living with a rapist who you can never complain about and never send to jail. Who still has so much power, he can threaten to rape your younger sister if you open your mouth. Just imagine being this girl. Imagine how she would have experienced ‘men’ and ‘sexuality’. What would she feel like if she ever gets in an isolated with any man? Imagine if she shared this with some man she trusted and he then used her trauma against her? Imagine living with a heavier than a thousand-tonne weight ON YOUR SOUL for the rest of your life. Just do that for today.