Teen Rape Survivor Fighting For Justice

823 words - 3 pages

A teen rape survivor fighting for justice New Delhi: Every month a 16-year-old boards a train from her remote village in eastern India and steels herself for another round of searing cross-examination by lawyers about the men who kidnapped, raped and sold her. While the tragic killing of a medical student after she was gang-raped in Delhi has triggered an outpouring of angry protests and attracted global headlines, the ordeal of this young village girl in West Bengal is an equally damning indictment of the fate of sex attack victims in India. "I hear about the Delhi rape case on the radio every day," she told AFP in a phone interview from her home. "Only a rape victim can understand the grief of another rape victim. She died but I have to live to fight on." On a summer's day in 2010, while working at her family shop in her village, she says two boys offered her an ice cold soda, laced with sedatives. She regained consciousness in a train compartment in the presence of three men. When they arrived at a Delhi station, the men frogmarched her to an apartment, she says. "They locked me in a room, forced me to stay silent by attacking me with shoes and sticks and then they raped me." The 14-year-old was then sold to a brothel in the capital. "Drivers, old men, poor men and some rich boys, they all exploited me for a year," said the teen, who was rescued along with 10 other girls by the police and a voluntary organisation during a series of raids in the capital's red light district. But her struggle was far from over. When she arrived home, she found no one supported her decision to register a police case. "In a city, a girl still has the freedom to decide, but in a village she cannot make a decision against the wishes of a village head. A woman has to obey her father, brothers, village men," she said."Why would one man punish another man? But I registered a police case against my kidnappers, rapists and traffickers." It took the brutal multiple rape and murder of the 23-year-old student in the capital to push the epidemic of sexual violence against women onto the front pages, but the real epicentre is in the villages. The teen's village, like thousands of Indian villages, is a tight-knit, mainly agrarian community where family honour and the avoidance of...

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