Two years after rape, Chennai girl manages to pass Class X
By Jayanthi Pawar | Express News Service | Published: 20th May 2017 03:58 AM |
CHENNAI: When most Class X students were trying to access their board exam results on their mobile phones and thronging their school to verify it, 17-year-old Priya (name changed), a rape victim who also underwent an abortion, was waiting for her elder brother to reach home with information on her performance. Not that the teenager didn’t care to go to school. She actually chose to stay back at home hoping to put off the horrific memories and whispers of neighbours and cherish the success of the battle she fought alone. Her eyes finally lit up when the brother said she had scored 301 on 500.
It’s been two years since Priya was allegedly raped twice by the same man and had to undergo abortion, which forced her to disconnect from friends and school. However, after counselling for about two years, she decided to take her Class X board exam. She, however, did not join a regular school or a private centre.
For Priya, almost every day since February 2015 has been a struggle. Hailing from a family of seven where the mother is a patient of acute schizophrenia and the father works as a security guard at the airport to eke out a living, the girl was harassed from the age of 11, but it escaped her family’s notice.
It all began two years ago when she noticed she was being stalked by a neighbour while on her way to school or the church.
Worried over being stalked by a 25-year-old driver, she remained silent and would often bunk school. Her family read it otherwise, and attributed it to lethargy. “One day, the stalker intercepted her while she was on her way to church. He bugged her to get on to his motorbike saying he would never disturb her again. Swayed by his assurance, she hopped on, only to be taken to a secluded place and raped,” said Sherin Bosko of Nakshatra Rape Crisis Centre who is helping Priya.
“The mental torture didn’t end as the man kept blackmailing her, saying he had videotaped the rape and would upload it on the internet. Fearing this, the girl hesitated to go to school. A few months later, learning that she was alone at home with her mother, the suspect barged in and forced her to come out with him. Scared that the video would be leaked, the girl complied. He raped her again, which aggravated her trauma to such an extent that she hesitated to even come to the front room of the house. She then dropped out of school after Class IX,” Bosko said.
“Priya would sleep most of the time and her health was slipping. Worried, my father and I took her to a hospital, where doctors said she was pregnant. We all were shocked. Priya hadn’t told us about the rape, which is understandable. Had our mother not been schizophrenic, she could possibly have shared information about the abuse with her.,” said the victim’s brother.
“After the check-up, it took nearly 10 days for us to convince her to reveal the name of the rapist. When we approached his family to sort out the issue, his family members offered us Rs 1.5 lakh to abort the baby... Subsequently, we learnt an FIR was mandatory to abort the child. A complaint was registered and Priya underwent the procedure when she was five months pregnant. She became very weak and would frequently breakdown. The stalker’s family too was harassing us, so we decided to admit Priya in a government run girl’s home in the city. For two years, she stayed there, though occasionally she would come home,” said the brother.
“I would always miss being with mom. Every time, there was a hearing, I would be forced to see his face and end up falling sick the next day. Those memories of the horrific incident, the pain my schizophrenic mother was going through and my father’s struggles to educate all the five of us had taken a toll on me. Add to that the snide remarks of relatives and the glares and murmurs of neighbours,” Priya shared.
“I would cover my face with a stole every time I stepped out of the house or leave at night or when nobody was on the streets with my brother,” she added.
Three months back, Priya was brought back home. She decided to stay at home and take the Class X exams this time, taking a weekly tuition for some portions of maths. “Any word that I could not understand, I would circle and check the dictionary. For three months, I studied day and night while doing routine work at home... I always wanted to become a doctor, but after what happened to me, I aim to become a lawyer,” she said.
Priya’s case is under trial at a Tiruvallur court for the past two years.