So young, yet …

I did my field work at North Eastern Regional Domestic workers Movement in Shillong. During my stay I did many things, from meeting different kinds of peoples to handling different kind of situations. One thing that really shook me was when I came across a 7 year old girl who was being raped by her distant uncle at Mawlai, Shillong.

On the morning of 20th October 2010, when I reached the agency, a phone call came from the mother of the girl. The mother was a member of the domestic workers’ movement; she informed that her seven year old daughter was raped. Hearing the news the Director of the agency sent me along with the animator to investigate on the case. We went to the civil hospital Shillong, where the girl was admitted. I was stunned when I saw the girl at first . I didn’t expect that a tender child like her will have to undergo such pain. Her body was filled with bruises and she could neither sit nor stand. She was so scared that no words would come out of her mouth. Rape, abuse, murder, etc. never struck me much before when I read about them in the News paper or watched on the television. But it really hit me when I came to encounter the victim face to face. Everything went black.

Seeing her condition, I felt like I was stabbed by someone. I can see the pain in her eye; I can feel the pain deep within her. I wanted to help her in any way possible, but it was too difficult as the pain and the trauma she was undergoing was beyond her capacity and she could not understand the reason for such pain.

Very young that she is, the scars and the stigma she received will remain for the rest of her life. The memories will haunt her and the guilt will keep reminding her. This situation makes me think how cruel human being can be. It gives me a sense of insecurity. I feel strongly that exemplary punishment should be given to this kind of people who in the pretext of guardianship tried to take advantage of the vulnerability of the child. They have changed the precious life of someone in a split second and made her live with shame and guilt for the rest of her life.

Cases like this sound very common but to solve them and bring the victims back to normalcy is not like drinking a glass of water. It needs time, skill and experience to rehabilitate and make the victim accept the reality and get back to normal situation. This kind of case is one of the hardest one can ever deal with.

This experience makes me more committed to the calling I have i.e. to work for gender equality and empowerment of the weaker sections in the society. It is an eye opener for me. There are many such related cases in and around, reported and unreported. Those who suffer most are the women. Man must realize that the world that is fit for them fits for the women too and they are all equal. It is the women who brought them to this world so they must respect the sacredness and value of women. This is what I learned and experienced during my fieldwork. (Betsy)

5 Responses

  1. robert
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    We all give tall talks about women empowerment. No doubt I support it. But let us also see the womenfolks rise when occasion demands and especially when they are offered the oppurtunities. Oppurtunities come in a way we never expect.. in small ways. I think women should take those small oppurtunities too in order to have their big break. Your article is touching

  2. Rini Ghose
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    it really is horrifying where on the one hand we talk of women empowerment, reservation of seats, etc., on the other hand such a tender aged girl can fall victim. Women are often blamed that they are the ones who do not cover themselves properly, they dont wear decent dresses etc., etc. But let us ask people who say this. “what could this little girl aged 7 do to fall a victim to such a situation”.
    congratulations Betsy for your experience and reflections. it is really heart touching and hope it moves people towards making sour society safer for women and girl children.

  3. maniung
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    Its really moving and very touching,i got goosebumps reading it. I could not agree more that yes we need to empower women and help them stand up for themselves. But again what is there only empowering the women, while the other sex keeps on walking all over them. We can never clap with one hand so its not only empowering the women that is needed but also raising awareness and educating the others about the value and dignity of each other and people around us.

  4. Wandaia
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    Betsy… Thanks for sharing your experiences, learning and reflection on the reality that you had encountered with.

    we often preach of gender equality and the status of women in this modern era, lots of remedies for their uplift ment and protection; both by NGOs & Govt’, but we forgot our own individual responsibility.
    Most of the crimes happen in our day to day life, own relationship, own families… a person whom we trust so much…
    we do tend to put the blame on Female that they don’t carry themselves well. But have we ever ponder that its all depend on self control, values & principles of humanity.

  5. yaya
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    Thanks Betzy for sharing your heart touching experiences, learning and reflection with us.
    Story of this sort is very much prevalent in this unfair world of ours. Many of us love to preach about gender equality, empowerment and so on and so forth. Varieties of remedies are worked out by the NGOs and Govt. for the welfare of Females, but crimes against Females are at its peak.
    No mercy whether they are young or old. Crimes, sadness happen in our day to day life, in personal relationship, family, workplace…
    A person whom we rely and trust so much break our trust. Similar incident happened to an eight years girl being raped by her own drunken, unconscious papa out of anger for his wife, that too twice…
    We tend to put the blame on westernization, modernization of our modern girls, their life style and indecency in dress, speech and deeds.
    But the fact is that we forgot the real meaning of life, the values, and principles of humanity, our own responsibility towards our children, our spouse, our family…
    Rape in different ways physically, emotionally… extra marital relationship and what not…

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