Pocso victim attends courts, yet scores 82 per cent in TN board exams

By the time her family picked up the courage to file a complaint, after overcoming the fear of stigma, it was time for the board examination.
Representative Image.
Representative Image.(Photo | Pexels)

RANIPET: Vidhya (name changed), a 14-year-old victim of alleged child sexual abuse from Ranipet district, was attending court proceedings on at least two occasions and appearing for medical examination accompanied by her mother, while her classmates were preparing for the class 10 board examinations.

The trauma of the alleged abuse and the ordeal of going through legal procedures while hiding her identity through the use of a mask did not stop her from scoring 82% in the examinations. Like many others, Vidhya was also surprised by the results, despite not having enough time for preparations. “I did not cover the full syllabus and could not concentrate much because of all the trauma,” she told TNIE.

According to the First Information Report filed by the Ranipet police in March, the girl was sexually assaulted by a 54-year-old man 30–40 times over a period of two years. A case was registered against the suspect under IPC Sections 506(2) (criminal intimidation) and Sections 7 (touching a child's intimate body parts or any sexual act with them, without penetration), 8 (punishment for sexual assault), 9(l) (whoever commits sexual assault on the child more than once and repeatedly), and 10 (aggravated sexual assault) of the Pocso Act, 2012.

The girl's academic performance had declined over the period during which she underwent the trauma. By the time her family picked up the courage to file a complaint, after overcoming the fear of stigma, it was time for the board examination.

Vidhya had to attend court proceedings at least twice, as the accused, who had not been arrested then, was moving the court for bail. She had to undergo a medical examination a day before the Tamil examination. “Medical examination by a random person was a difficult experience for me,” she said.

“During the examination, my mind was filled with thoughts of court proceedings. My mother and I had to face some infuriated community members, and a few of them even intimidated us to withdraw the complaint. We also received a lot of hate,” she said.

The girl credited her academic success to her mother, who motivated her throughout the ordeal. Vidhya's mother told TNIE that awareness must be raised about child abuse laws, and parents should support their children and come forward to file complaints related to abuse.

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