Is going viral these days. A tale of assault of a minor from Mahoba’s Kulpahad area.
Three men sexually assaulted a 14-year old girl in a village in Kulpahad Kowali Area in Mahoba. The girl attends a coaching class every evening and was walking there with her friend when she fell behind. The three men then nabbed her and took her to an isolated spot behind the class where they disrobed her and took photographs of her without her consent.
“I tried running away but got hurt in the process. Then the three of them forcefully took pictures of me. A group of their friends stood behind and watched.”, the minor girl’s parents were away at the time of the incident. “Only my grandmother was home. When my mother returned, I told her everything that happened.” The three men who assaulted her are from the area and she has identified them as Dhabbu, Gabbar and Pinku. One of them had been harassing her for days. “He had been constantly telling me that he loves me. I told him that I don’t love him and I am not even interested in friendship. He continued to pressurize me. After two days of silence, on 26th he took my hand and tried to drag me away. I started screaming and ran away.”
IN 2016 UP registered the highest number of crimes against women across India. In the caste-ridden Bundelkhand, gender-based violence is a common occurrence. Incidents like ‘corrective rapes’ to revenge-porn cases such as these, the region’s patriarchal structure fosters a system that banks on our sluggish judiciary and procedural breakdowns. In this case, the perpetrators were once again relying on the social stigma of sexual assault to ensure the minor’s silence.
The coaching class is walking distance from the girl’s house and the parents felt it was safe for her to attend the class from seven to eight pm every evening. “They are saying to settle the matter between the two families. But I told them right then and there that if it had been your daughter would you have kept quiet?”, the parents have filed a complaint against the three boys. “They all have my pictures on their phone. They kept coming to my class and blackmailed me. They threated to leak the pictures on the net if I told anyone about what they did.” Kulpahad Police Officer Abhimanyu Yadav spoke off-camera to our journalist and said that an investigation into the incident is underway.
With Women’s Day right around the corner, a lot of lip service to the cause of women is already flooding our feed. An assault such as this should serve as a wake-up call to the extent of gender-based violence that happens around us every day. In India, only one out of four rape cases lead to a conviction. As per government data about 90 cases a day are registered with the police, while most go unreported. When it comes to sexual assault, the data gets murkier. As per a report by Thomas Reuters Foundation in 2018, India is the most dangerous country for sexual violence against women. Instead of making the country a safe space for women, PM Modi is just giving up his social media accounts for a day to ‘inspiring’ women. Once again, brushing under the carpet the more pressing issues that actually help lift and push forward the cause of women. A move that is as patronizing as the people who ‘advised’ the minor girl’s family to settle the matter. A demand for constant submission and fostering a system of social silence has what emboldened violent behavior that faces little to no consequences.
In this case, the parents are adamant for justice. “If not here then we will go to the SP. I don’t know how the legal system works. But I am not going to stay quiet.” This Women’s day, let this be our mantra too.