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Rediff.com  » News » But who will ease the little girl's terror and horror?

But who will ease the little girl's terror and horror?

Last updated on: April 22, 2013 15:51 IST

If this little girl was ‘lucky,’ the stranger who examined her would have been a woman; if she was still luckier, she would have gentle and patient and kind.

Then, the cops would have questioned her.

Finally, she would have been allowed to go home with a little pouch of medicines to help her with the pain.

But who would ease her terror and horror?

There’s a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I struggle to hold the bile down.

My hands are cold; it feels like icy water is flowing through my body instead of blood.

Again and again, the same images play through my mind -- of an innocent little 10-year-old girl lured into a bus and violated by someone she knew and most probably trusted.

On April 13, this little girl was raped in Delhi’s Sultanpuri area inside a stationary chartered bus by its driver, who also happened to be her neighbour.

She had the courage to tell her friends what happened, so the rape came to light. She was medically examined, the rape was confirmed, the driver was arrested and the law -- the new anti-rape law, as reports make it a point to underline -- will hopefully take its course.

But what of this little girl?

She was RAPED.

She must be hurting so much, physically and emotionally. Can you put yourself in her shoes? At an age where you are still a baby, a man grabs you, throws you down, forces your legs apart and thrusts himself inside you, ripping and tearing you apart.

Can you imagine the physical agony?

Emotionally, too, she has been savaged with the horror of what she has seen and endured.

And then, the medical tests to prove the rape.

First, she would have been photographed. Blood and urine samples would have been taken, along with swabs from the oral and genital areas. For which, however mildly you put it, she would have to willingly expose the most private part of her body to a stranger.

These are a vital part of the evidence gathering process, and they need to be done as quickly as possible.

But can you imagine a 10-year-old, who has already been raped, having to go through this process?

Did someone explain to her why it was necessary, or was she ridden roughshod over?

She lives in a slum; did her parents even understand what was happening? If they didn’t, how could they help her?

In the struggle to eke out a daily existence and worry about the next meal, would they even think of cosseting and loving her? Or has this become another problem that has latched itself onto their already overbearingly heavy burden?

If this little girl was ‘lucky,’ the stranger who examined her would have been a woman; if she was still luckier, she would have gentle and patient and kind.

Then, the cops would have questioned her.

Finally, she would have been allowed to go home with a little pouch of medicines to help her with the pain.

But who would ease her terror and horror?

Would she be able to sleep at night? If sleep came, would she be unvisited by nightmares?

At what point would her family and neighbours’ sympathy turn to apathy? Would her family blame her for what happened? What about her friends and neighbours? And her schoolmates, if she goes to school?

At some point, she will step out of her house. Will she keep looking over her shoulder, forever fearful of shadows and strangers any, maybe, buses?

She will have to face society again. How will society treat her? Will she be the target of cruel barbs?

She will have to go to court to testify against this criminal. What will go through her when she faces this monster in a room full of strangers? When she has to answer questions from the lawyers that, however kindly they are put, are still torturous?

She will have to live through the horror again, many times maybe.

Will she have the benefit of counselling? Will the counselling help her?

As she grows up, will she pray that she will not be beautiful so as to avoid the gaze of men?

Will she face taunts because she is no longer ‘pure’ (as defined by society), no longer a virgin?

What will happen when it is time for her to get married?

Will she find someone who will disregard what happened to her as a child and love her for who she is? Or will she be rejected because she is, as our society puts it, ‘damaged goods’?

Will her parents struggle to save money, so that her dowry can be an adequate ‘compensation’?

If she gets married, how will she cope with the ‘first night’? Will her husband understand her fears, or will he just impatiently rape her as well, because he is her husband and conjugal relations are his ‘right’?

When she gets pregnant, will she pray that she does not have a daughter?

A man with an itchy penis may not realise this, but a rape is not a one-time destruction; its effects will continue to ripple.

The man will hitch up his pants, zip up his fly and maybe boast of his prowess to his friends.

He may be caught and sentenced.

But the girl… she will live with it forever.

A Woman In Today''s India