Kerala: This is a case of a 12-year-old girl child who has suffered sexual assault for 2 years and yet ‘doesn’t seem to realize she has been raped. The child has written “sorry Amma” on the wooden door of her house. Approximately 30 men raped the girl for over 2 years in Kerala’sKerala’s Malappuram district. The message is a reference to failure for not being able to contribute to the financial crisis of the family.
This came to the notice when the authorities from her school took her away to a shelter home on Saturday for counseling. The report from the authorities says the abuse began when the child was only 10 years old. The counselor filed a report which tells the child had suffered so much trauma, and yet she ridden with guilt over not being able to contribute to the ‘family’s finances.
The counselor, who works under the Kerala public education department, told the press,
“she started crying when asked about what was going on at home. She said her family, including a sick grandmother, was in dire need of money and that they hadn’t even been able to pay rent. She was worried that the family would be in a deeper financial crisis if her father were taken into custody.”
The child does not seem to recognize that she was sexually abused. The child told the counselor that she was first raped by her ‘father’s friend who gave money to them in return, and later, there were many others. A third person, whom the girl never met, collected money from the men who sexually assaulted her. The father of the girl is unemployed, and it seems that he first forced the mother into prostitution.
The ‘girls’ statement was recorded before a magistrate on Sunday, and medical examination has confirmed rape, said sub-inspector of Tirurangadi police station Noushad Ibrahim. Three people, including the ‘girls’ father, were arrested on Sunday night. While two men have been booked under various sections of the POCSO Act and Sections 354 (Sexual harassment) and 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code. The ‘girl’s father has been booked under the Juvenile Justice Act. Deputy Superintendent of Police (Malappuram), P P Shamsu, said search for remaining accused is on.
Some in the crowded neighborhood – where the family settled five years ago- aware that something questionable was going on in the house. They just chose not to interfere. A 47-year-old woman (neighbor) said, “we often heard the little girl crying and shouting at night. We saw men coming to the house. We ‘didn’t want to interfere with their family matter. We have to protect our daughters.”
At school, a classmate of the girl said she kept to herself and her mother accompanied her to and back from school. The mother would also take her home during recess, perhaps out of fear that she might speak to friends if she had made any.
The ‘child’s health had also started suffering due to severe abuse, and she often skipped school, but this went unnoticed. It was only after one of the neighbors complained to school authorities that something suspicious was going on at her place, and then she was sent for counseling where the aforementioned details came to limelight.
The mother of the survivor has shamelessly denied charges against the family.
She said, “This is a conspiracy. I want my daughter back.”
In the district, Police are now mulling a drive to identify vulnerable children from low-income families to curb rising cases of abuse of minors. The district had recorded 289 child sexual abuse cases until July 31. The record is the highest among all districts in Kerala.