So What If The Boys Had Raped Her—Everyone Held HER Responsible!

The four boys were proven innocent, they were acquitted. But of course, there was no solid evidence against them and then, they belonged to influential families.

Trigger Warning: This deals with rape of a minor, gang rape, violence against women, victim blaming, and could be triggering for survivors.

She gazed listlessly out of the window, as the torrential rains lashed the misty mountains. A chill ran down her spine, how she had once treasured the fragrance of wet earth. But would it ever be the same, with whatever she had been enduring off late?

A slice of heaven, she had been immensely proud of her quaint town in the hills. Far from the raucous cities, home to many a prestigious educational institution. She shut her eyes, to drown the tiny drop of tear that escaped. Her boards were just around the corner, but alas, she had nowhere to go.

Those memories returned to torment her all over again. That fateful rainy day two months back, when she had skipped school and accompanied a bunch of classmates to the movies. That hotel room where she had woken up alone with a splitting headache. The faint but painful recollection of the cruelty on their faces, the brutish laughter of the boys, their uncomfortable touch, the agony, the shame.

Contrary to what her classmates would have imagined, she didn’t cower. Confiding in her parents who somehow stood by her, she lodged a complaint. The press found out, the media came sniffing, and the police commenced their inquiry. About four minor boys lacing their classmate’s soft drinks with sedatives, carrying her to a shady hotel, and gangraping her.

In a so-called fast-track proceeding, the court passed it’s verdict in a matter of days. The four boys were proven innocent, they were acquitted. But of course, there was no solid evidence against them and then, they belonged to influential families.

She had foreseen this from what had always transpired in court, but the fact that the judgement turned her from victim to culprit, caught her unawares.

The chastising began with the neighbours and relatives.

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“Why did she cut class and go for a movie with boys?”

“Too forward, wearing short skirts, luring men. What else would happen?”

“At least she should have kept mum. Taking on such powerful people. And for what? Bringing dishonour to the family.”

She could now see how their own siblings had distanced themselves from her parents, ashamed to be attached to her family. None of her friends had spoken to her since the moment she had reported the incident.

The major blow came from the school, her alma mater which she held in such high esteem. A day after the boys got the clean chit, she was instructed to get her leaving certificate, citing no particular reason.

“Look, we do not wish to be associated with someone like you. The reputation of our school is at stake, it can’t be tarnished anymore.” The headmistress had been agonizingly callous.

She had been crème de la crème of her school, teachers’ favourite. How the tables had turned. Didn’t the headmistress, her classmates, and her relations see the truth? That she had been molested, that she had been wronged. Yet they all preferred to turn a blind eye.

Her perils hadn’t ended just there. The real shock had been waiting, the other schools denied her admission as well, refusing to be associated with a rape victim, she would ruin the sanctity of the institution, they reasoned. Yes, that was precisely that was conveyed to her parents.

So here she was today, shunned by yet another school, their response had arrived in the morning by mail. The societal rejection and media trial notwithstanding, her perpetrators were living in merry, as if nothing had ever happened. This was justice served to her, on a platter.

“I’ll get a transfer, to someplace far away, a city perhaps. She needs to complete her studies, doesn’t she?” She overheard her father.

“Why oh dear God, did I listen to the two of you and let her go ahead with filing the complaint? Nobody wants us anymore, who will ever marry her? Have you given the slightest thought to our younger daughter? She is mocked every day at school for no fault of hers. And how could we blame them all, she did go out with those boys. Did we ever permit her? My credibility as a mother is being questioned for raising this girl wrong.” Her mother was wailing.

She wiped her tears. She had been friends with boys her age, her mistake. She had ventured out with them for some teenage fun, her slip-up. They had taken advantage of her vulnerability, her fault. She had dared to bring it to the notice of the authority, her folly. Being left out of her world, being belittled by her parents and teachers, her blunder. Trusting the judiciary, her fallacy.

But then, it dawned on her. She realized where she had indeed gone wrong, what had been her greatest error.

“To be Born. And worse still, as a woman.”

Note: Inspired by a true incident in Dehradun, 2018.

Image source: a still from the film Mom

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