When I was 14 years old, I was raped by our tenant. He was my favourite bhaiya and I liked talking to him. My mother had warned me many a time but I always felt she was overreacting.
Now I know I should have listened to her.
It was an October afternoon in 2015 when the doorbell rang. I was alone at home as my parents and sisters were away for a wedding in Uttar Pradesh. I had to stay behind for a test at school. Also, leaving the house locked was never a good idea in our locality.
I remember I had smiled when I saw him at the door.
He asked me if I could make him a cup of tea. While I walked towards the kitchen, he came in and locked the door behind me. He held my hands and said he could wait no longer to confess his love for me. He said he wanted to marry me. I was stunned. I reminded him that he was like an elder brother to me. But before I could say more, he grabbed me. I begged him to let me go but he raped me. He didn’t seem human anymore. When I fought back, he slapped me hard twice and threatened to make a video of the rape public if I told anyone.
That day changed my life forever.
I was a fun-loving teenager. But I had turned morose and depressed. Little did I know that it was only the beginning.
I did not tell my family when they returned after two days. I managed to keep it from them even though they noticed the change in my behaviour.
Soon, I stopped going to school. My health was deteriorating. I had constant pain in my stomach but I never thought I could have a baby growing in my womb.
Around two o’ clock one night in June 2016, I woke up with acute pain in my stomach. My mother asked my father to take me to a hospital immediately.
The doctors at the hospital informed them that I was eight months pregnant.
My father started beating me up in the hospital itself and both my parents broke down.
They tried to get the foetus aborted but the pregnancy was too advanced and a medical board declined to allow the termination.
On returning home next morning, I thought of committing suicide but stopped after thinking about my child. I finally told my parents about what that bhaiya had done. Soon after that, he was arrested.
Less than a month later, I delivered a baby girl who stayed with me for five days. Those were the best days of my life. But the officials took her away to put her in government care.
No one had prepared me for it.
Scared of social stigma, my parents had forced me to surrender the child. I may be a minor but I had given birth to her.
What was her fault? Why did she have to live without her mother?
That man was sentenced to 10 years in jail and a fine of Rs 20,000 was imposed on him.
My incarceration, however, will last longer. My parents have asked me to stay away from home and my sisters.
I brought them shame, they say.
The girl now works with an NGO for a living. She never went back to school. Her child was adopted by a family.
Input syndicate feed : As told to Leena Dhankhar