A few pages from diary of a rape victim

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 15 Jul 2018 10:20:39


By Anshuman Bhargava,

Anshuman Bhargava, State Editor of MP Editions of The Hitavada, delves in the mind on a rape survivor and gives a moving account of the mental battles fought by the survivor against herself and the society and how her fighting spirit overcomes her fears to face the world again.

WHEN I returned home that night, my life had changed. But still everything around seemed strikingly same. Like every night, my mother had kept the food neatly on the table for me to have when I came late from work and gone to bed after her completing her day-long chores. My brother was studying in the adjacent room; a little streak of light coming from the half-open door, which today, I was scared and reluctant to cross. There was the familiar smell of freshly ground spices that grandmother must have kept in the round glass jars, and the same waft of the fragrant Rajnigandhas from the little patch of green which my father and myself had so carefully tended outside the dining hall through years of happy labour.

The clock struck one. The day had ended and it had changed me forever. I was no longer the same. Juxtaposed against the sameness of the world around me, my dissimilarity stood out in painfully stark contrast and wrung my heart in a mix of fear and disdain. I could realise in bolder relief that from today, a part of me had disconnected from the system I was a part of.

I saw myself as a sinner because I was defiled. I had started hating myself. From today, I was to carry a burden of blot and blame on my shoulders for all my life. From today, newspapers would write my name in pity and media channels would blur my face when spicing up my story on air. From today my colleagues in office would be ashamed to sit by my side. They will stare at me but would not look me in my eyes as if I would defile them the way I was defiled.

Yes, I was brutally violated. Yes, I was raped that night. I was overpowered, hit and traumatised and the reality of my vulnerability of being a woman in a male-dominated society was shoved down my throat.
For the first time I realised, I was no longer the rebellious free spirit of my father. I was a slave - deprived of my basic right to breathe fearlessly in my own society. I was hemmed in and shown my limits only within the confines of which I needed to build my world.

I was not supposed to dream beyond that. My father had wrongly taught me to break free and chalk new paths by fighting the odds. He had wrongly inspired me to be bold by telling me the glorious history of brave women. But my society would not allow me to be bold. When I read stories of rape, I thought they were just stories. It could never happen to me. But today, I was one with all those silent victims who had borne the pain. I felt it deeply today.

I now belonged to a universe which was different and far away from normal society. As I was standing under the shower, my limbs felt numb and my spirit jaded and distressed. I knew no amount of water could wash away the filth that now sat snug and tight on my body and soiled it. No amount of peace and happiness could now drive away the psychological scar that had scourged the innermost core of my heart and mind.

But why should I hide? What wrong did I do? I did not wear tight body-hugging jeans to lure boys, I did not go about meeting unknown people or making new friends; I was raped by my own ‘friend’, I did call the police, who did not respond in time, I tried to hit and oppose, I did not walk alone in a dark alley, I took all the precautions I had read and learnt.

But still I was blemished, my proud womanhood so easily trampled upon. I was made to see my face in the mirror and accept in bold terms, “You are a woman, you are made for satiation of the male libido. Admit. Submit”. Was it my fault? Was it my defeat? After a lost and broken night, I collected myself in the morning. I knew it would be a scandal at home, but I had to do that.

I seated my mother at the dining table and told her curtly that I had been raped the previous night and I wanted to lodge a complaint with the police. My mother sat like a statue in front of me for what seemed like hours, her mouth agape and eyes teary. I was feeling embarrassed and was about to break down when my mother got up and locked herself inside her room. I waited to wipe my tears. I was ready to fight it out.

I knew life would go on. It was up to me. I would have to get myself out of the pit. If I did not encourage and hold myself up, no one would. My mother came out after half an hour, pensive, tired but ready for the job. “Come with me,” she said. I felt blessed. It gave me the boost I badly needed at that moment.

It set my spirit rolling once again. The police station in-charge was not very interested in lodging an FIR. He wanted to suppress the matter and at last, in the face of repeated insistence, he directed us to another police station citing legalities. But that was no surprise for us. We persisted and insisted and at last, the cop gave in.

We had a named FIR registered against the person I knew and trusted. More than the rape, the breach of trust burnt me from inside. That the person I had considered my own, the man I had taken for a dear friend for years, carried so much bestiality in his heart, was beyond me! I might have been tamed and trounced but I had won a small battle. The fact that I could get up the next morning and face society, was a win for me.

The fact that I could come out and disclose my ordeal was a win for me. The fact that I had the family by my side and the fact that I did not carry any guilt in my heart was a win for me. My win was an assertion of the fact that it is not shameful to fall down, but what is shameful is not rising after the fall. I had gotten back on my feet. I had won. And my little win was a victory of all those women who had lost.