On a Saturday morning, my mom dropped me at Uncle Mahesh’s house as she often did when she had to go to work. I knocked on the door and his friendly smile welcomed me in. He fussed over me asking me if I’d like something to eat which seemed quite odd because usually Aunt Savita did that. On asking where she was, he told me she’d be back soon. He then let me watch TV and he went back to work in his study.
After an hour of watching cartoons, Uncle Mahesh came out and joined me. I felt him pull me on his lap and I let him. He talked to me about a lot of things which were fascinating as always. He then asked me if I’d like to have some fun and I immediately let out a squeal of joy. He scooped me up in his arms and turned the TV off behind him as he carried me to the bedroom upstairs. He gave me his friendly smile and said “You’ll see” when I asked him which game we were about to play.
He then bolted the door, which felt strange to me but I did not question him because he was Uncle Mahesh, the coolest relative I had! He made me lie on the bed and lay down beside me. I instantly braced myself for a wonderful princess story. Instead, he began to tickle me and I laughed so hard, begging him to stop till a firm grip caught my hand and I couldn’t move it.
We’re going to have some fun now.”I smiled in agreement.
He asked me to close my eyes and keep silent as they were essential rules of the game, so I obeyed. He took off my sandals and his fingers traced up my legs. I felt ticklish but I clenched my teeth together because I did not want to ruin the game. I then felt him taking off my clothes and my eyes opened in shock and he just smiled asking me to play along. So I shut my eyes once again and within minutes I felt a pain so excruciating that I had never felt before below my belly. Tears escaped my eyes as I let out a squeal, this time full of pain and misery. He assured me that the fun part is about to come and that I am a strong girl and he covered my mouth with his own hand and I couldn’t speak anymore. I kept lying there and waited for the fun part to come but it never came, instead I was lying there with my thighs covered in my own blood and I kept crying, waiting for the game to get over.
On June 07th 2002, I was seven years old when my innocence was first attacked and the hilarity of the situation was that I did not understand what had happened. Of course no one found out what happened or why a happy child had become so reserved. Twelve years from then, reading about cases such as Nirbhaya who was brutally raped and murdered on a bus, and the cousins who were raped and hung from a tree and about the poor tribal woman, who was raped by ten men including her husband, I now understand what had been taken away from me that day.
Being a woman in this country is not easy because they are perceived by men merely as sex objects. The girl in this story was seen as one by her uncle when she was seven. What makes it even tougher is that the laws of this country do little to deter rapists from their path. That, coupled with remarks of politicians like Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav saying ‘Boys make mistakes. They should not be hanged for this.’ and Mr. Ramsevak Paikra saying ‘Such incidents (rapes) do not happen deliberately. These kind(s) of incidents happen accidentally.’ Being raped is seen as a woman’s responsibility. A woman who is raped is thought to have excited her rapist. Well I would like to ask people who hold that view, what had that naïve seven-year-old girl done to excite her uncle? Was it her innocence? Or was it the trust she had in her rapist?
Gloria Steinam, a feminist, says “If you are beaten, you’re said to have incited it, if you’re raped you’re said to have invited it”. I would just say that it is a very sad country to be a woman in.
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