A vegetable vendor was arrested in Navi Mumbai, India, after his 13-year-old daughter told her teacher in a letter the horrible truth which until then she was too scared to reveal: how, from the age of seven, she was raped by her father in front of her mother who, instead of stopping him, gave her some pill after every assault.
A fast-track court of Rajkot city in Gujarat state sentenced a man to rigorous imprisonment for life after finding him guilty of repeatedly raping his 16-year-old daughter and fathering her child.
A 16-year-old girl from Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal state filed a complaint with the police alleging that she was repeatedly raped by her father, uncle and brother for over two years.
The father of a 12-year-old girl and three of his neighbors were arrested in Coimbatore city in Tamil Nadu state for allegedly raping her.
A 15-year-old girl, who had been missing for more than a week in the north-east state of Meghalaya, was found beheaded and burnt in a jungle on a Sunday night. In a police complaint, her mother alleged that her husband had sexually assaulted their daughter.
A man was jailed for eight years by a Delhi court for repeatedly raping his 17-year-old daughter when her mother was in hospital.
A 17-year-old girl from Uttar Pradesh state was raped and killed on the outskirts of Mumbai by her father and his friend when they went looking for the teen who had eloped with her boyfriend from her village in Ghazipur two months ago. When she refused to return home, her father and his friend allegedly took her to a forested area, raped and strangled her.
A 62-year-old retired government employee in Rajasthan state was arrested after his five daughters — all married now — levelled serious charges of sexual exploitation, molestation and rape against him.
An 18-year-old woman was allegedly raped by her father in Rajasthan’s Bikaner district when she was alone at home.
Crimes like these, which are on the rise, hog the headlines as more and more such victims speak out about the abuse they suffered at the hands of their fathers, uncles and brothers.
Access to education is empowering them to bring such cases to the notice of law enforcers. In most cases reported, the victims had first approached their teachers who then contacted some non-government organization (NGO) for help.
One such case relates to the 13-year-old girl from Navi Mumbai who was too scared to tell anyone about her abusive father. So she wrote a letter to her teacher describing the trauma she had undergone over the years. Her teacher immediately contacted a local NGO who helped her register a case against the parents.
NGOs are working in remote areas of India to foster education and social awareness and sensitize people against child abuse.
Although some girls and women are sexually abused by their fathers, uncles or brothers in extended families, very few talk about it. Elders in the family, fearing retribution, rarely try to stop such abuse.
Many victims of abuse end up in brothels or dance bars as in the case of Leela, the protagonist, in Sonia Faleiro’s book Beautiful Thing: Inside the Secret World of Bombay’s Dance Bars.
In this moving piece of reportage, Leela’s father not only abuses his minor daughter, but also forces her to spend nights with policemen. To escape the shame and humiliation suffered at their hands, Leela goes to Mumbai and becomes a bar dancer.
Women’s rights activist Soumyadeep Koley, who has recently written the book Her Resurrection, delving into the life of a gang -rape survivor, says: “From a psychological point of view, I could say these incidents of sexual aggression of fathers can stem from hyper-sexual disorder or compulsive sexual behaviour, which could be the combination of multiple personality disorders.
“Also, these so-called fathers almost always are driven by a strong sense of domination, combined with a strong hatred for womankind …. being their father, they feel they have an intrinsic right to abuse their daughters the way they want to. To them, raping is an ultimate solution to their dominating compulsions.”
No mercy for such crimes
A father is a person a child always turns to for protection but there could be nothing worse if that person becomes a perpetrator himself.
In the Rajkot case where the father was given life imprisonment, judge Asha Anjariya said while delivering the verdict: “The accused is father of the victim and has made her pregnant by repeatedly raping her against her wish. The girl was living with the man and it was pious duty of the father to protect his minor daughter. However, it has been proven that the protector has turned predator. In order to prevent a stigma to the pious relationship of father-daughter in the society, the accused deserves no mercy as instead of protecting his daughter, he has committed a heinous crime.”
When it comes to rate of conviction for rape cases, the global average is just 3 per cent. However, courts all over the world show little mercy when the predator happens to be the father.
This is indeed an encouraging trend.
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