“Sorry, Amma.” This is what the 12-year-old girl, who was raped by more than 30 men over two years in Kerala’s Malappuram district, wrote on a wooden door as authorities took her to a shelter home on Saturday.
What makes our heart bleed is the sense of trauma and guilt that this child suffered for not being able to contribute to the family’s finances.
The life of this little girl changed forever 2 years ago. She was just 10 years old when the abuse began. But, the matter came to light only after she attended a counseling session at her school last week.
While recalling how the girl was not only suffering from trauma but also the immense guilt, the counselor who works under the Kerala public education department, shared with TOI:
“She started crying when asked about what was going on at home.She said her family, including a sick grandmother, was in dire need of money and that they hadn’t even been able to pay rent.
She was worried that the family would be in deeper financial crisis if her father was taken into custody”
What counselor said further was heartbreaking:
“The girl didn’t even seem to recognise that she was being abused.”
The girl told the counselor that initially, she was raped by her father’s friend who gave the family money and later there were many others.
The horrific details of this incident shook not only Kerala but the rest of the country too.
As per the counselor, the girl’s father was unemployed and it seems that he first forced the mother into prostitution.
While this little girl was struggling with abuse, the society chose to shut their eyes to her misery.
Some neighbors were aware that “something questionable” was happening, but they chose to look the other way. A 47-year-old shared with TOI,
“We often heard the little girl crying and shouting at night. We saw men coming to the house. And, we didn’t want to interfere in their family matter. We have to protect our daughters.”
As per one of the classmates, the girl used to keep to herself. And sometimes the mother would also take her home during recess, perhaps out of fear that she might speak to friends if she made any.
Though the girl often skipped school because of her deteriorating health, this went unnoticed. Only after a neighbor complained to school authorities about something questionable happening at the girl’s home, she was sent for counseling.
While denying all the charges against the family, the mother of the survivor shared:
“This is a conspiracy. I want my daughter back”
Though the girl’s father has been booked under various sections of the POCSO Act, what is saddening is the fact that even after what this 12-year-old went through, she feels guilty of stopping her abuse.
At IFORHER, we pray her emotional and physical wounds will heal soon and with time she will recognize her brave act with pride and not with guilt.