Today we are addressing one of India’s most well kept secrets, incest.
I do not have words to express my anger against this man and its also true that until it happens to someone you know, you misjudge its effect on their emotional and physical ability to cope up with the trauma. I know Radha (name changed) since 2 years she is one of the kids who has attended my school workshops in the past, a very shy and sensitive child who adores cats.
Here is the story of a teenage girl who raised her voice against incest and got her father arrested. During police investigation there was another truth that came forward, he used to sexually abuse her elder sister as well who was married and sent off to the village a year back.
When it happened for the first time Radha lost her self belief, she was suffering within but lack of sexual vocabulary restricted her from explaining what was happening with her. Every time her mother left home for work, he attacked. Radha clearly mentions, “It happened between 8 am and 9 am before I left for school”.
This ordeal continued for a couple of months, she was pulling away from school and her friends but after immense support and trust from one of her teachers Radha opened up about the entire mess. The teacher was quick enough to take the help of her mother, a local NGO and involve the police to take an immediate action against Radha’s father.
According to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012, a case of child sexual abuse must be disposed of within one year from the date the offence is reported. The Act further makes provisions for avoiding the re-victimisation of the child at the hands of the judicial system. It provides for special courts that conduct the trial in-camera and without revealing the identity of the child, in a manner that is as child-friendly as possible.
Her family did everything to pressurise Radha and her mother to withdraw the case, but they did not budge. Ramesh has been sentenced to 7 years jail. Not sure if that is enough but the family fears what happens once he is out again. Radha is just 14 years and has her whole life ahead but she is also well aware of the fact that once he is out he is going to try to harm them again.
Every woman/mother/child is repeatedly asked the same question, how could you go out of your house and discuss this problem with outsiders. The victim is further victimised and nobody wants to talk about it. This case highlights two very important women, Radha’s mother and her teacher. When women whole heartedly support, encourage and fight for each other is when feminism wins. If these 2 women were scared to trust Radha or feared the consequences another girl child would be buried as a victim of incest. Our liberation is in our own hands. I am sure this chain will continue because Radha is going to much more forthcoming in supporting other women in the course of her life.
You can help Radha by supporting her higher education, connect with us and we will help you understand the dynamics of her requirement. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: The names have been changed to protect the identity of the child and her family.