This story was shared as part of the launch of Sexual Violence in South Asia: Legal and Other Barriers to Justice for Survivors, co-authored by Equality Now and Dignity Alliance International. This story is anonymous and the name Dhriti is a pseudonym.
I used to work alongside my husband as a wage laborer and our employer asked us to steal from someone else’s farm but we weren’t willing to do this. We were told we’d have to pay a high price for saying no and when my husband went to collect our wages, they refused to pay him.
When my husband was out, our employer came to our place when my little daughter and I were sleeping. He had a knife and stick and threatened to kill us. He also threatened me not to tell anyone including my husband and said he would kidnap or kill everyone in our family if I did. He did things to me against my consent and he hurt me with the knife.
My husband was also hurt by some goons who pushed him in the gutter. When he returned home, I mustered the courage to tell him everything. He was very annoyed and blamed me. He said, “You have shamed us in front of the village. How will we face people? What will we do now? You must go to your parent’s house.”
My parents are far away so I went to my in-laws. My father-in-law fought with me, saying, “We have a very bad daughter-in-law who has shamed us in front of the whole village”. But he also said we should file a police complaint.
The accused told me that if I tried to report to the police, he would not let us reach the station and would kill all of us. We had no vehicle so my father-in-law and I managed to reach there by bus. But the perpetrator and his supporters were at the station already. People had gathered in large numbers and tried to prevent us from going inside.
A police officer said a report could not be taken as the person I had to file it with was out. They made me wait a long time and I sat there until 5 pm. Finally, I told them to write down my report or else I would take the matter further. He asked me, “Where would you go?”, and I replied, “Wherever we would be heard and wherever we get justice”. He said, “How would you go? You were raped before and you will be raped further.”
I still urged him, saying, “If I have been raped once, and if it is to happen again, then I will anyway have to die. But what has happened to me should not happen to any other women.” After that, he wrote the report. He asked how and where I was held and how I was raped. He also told me to swear on god. I was not educated so I couldn’t even read the report to see whether it was correctly written.
I was taken to hospital for a medical check-up and had the two-finger test conducted on me. The nurse was not cooperative. She rudely said I was talking too much and that I had conned the accused for money.
When we were leaving the hospital, there were many people there from the side of the accused. My husband asked the police to arrange a vehicle to take us home but the police said, “If they try to kill you, then you will have to die,” so we had to get the bus.
We went to another police station where my statement was recorded in a proper manner. The accused had reached there too and I was so angry when I saw him.
When I went to court, there were two lawyers there but I don’t know who they were representing. They told me to say I had taken 40,000 rupees (approx. $550 USD) from the accused, but I refused because I hadn’t taken the money. The police dragged me in front of the judge and I begged him to give me justice. But the verdict given was that rape had not been proven in the report and the perpetrators were released.
Now my case is being appealed in the High Court. The judge is there to give justice. If we get justice, then such incidents will not have to be repeated with other women.