13 months and counting…
That’s how long it has been since an eight-month-old baby girl was raped by her 28-year-old cousin in Delhi last year.
The infant’s parents had left for work leaving behind their daughter under the care of the mother of the accused. The child stayed on the first floor of the house with her parents while the other family lived on the ground floor. When the accused saw that his mother was not around, he allegedly forced himself on the baby and gagged her mouth so that her cries can’t be heard. He has later confessed of raping her under the influence of alcohol.
On returning home, the mother found the baby in a state of unconsciousness and bleeding profusely between the legs. Her father, who is a labourer, was also informed of the incident and she was taken to the hospital where the doctor confirmed the crime and reported to the police.
Image Source: The Quint
Stunned by the heinousness of the crime, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal had demanded strict punishment for the rapist, and the Supreme Court said it was “concerned” about Chhutki.
In her tweet, Ms. Maliwal asked: “Who is responsible for this? The entire system has been neutered. Nobody makes a difference. When will it change?”
The incident had left the capital in a state of shock and aggression which was seen on the streets of Delhi in an aftermath of the incident.
However, even after a year and month-long protest and outcry for the infant survivor, the parents of 8-month-old are still waiting for justice to be done with their daughter and hopes for a sooner conviction of the accused. It’s quite disheartening, that even after the Nirbhaya gang rape case that led to the Enactment of stricter laws for Children and Women safety in 2013, justice seems to have been delayed for the little wonder. Even in the Fast-track courts, the speedy delivery of justice seems to be a myth.
With the passage of time, it seems that we have adjusted with the situation of our country and have accepted the fact of delay in the justice-delivery process. While on the other hand, Chhutki’s parents are hoping to keep her story alive as much as possible through appeals to the public. There still exists hope for justice in their teary eyes.
Where the problem does exist?
Is it the law that needs to be more stringent or is it our slow, creaking and overburdened judiciary where justice is delayed or is it us, the people, who are now in habit of GETTING OVER everything?
Well, you know what? It’s a combined effort!
Merely arresting the culprit in this case, will not serve the purpose. The man is still afforded confidentiality; we don’t have his name, no photograph and no account of what will be done to him. Nobody has any idea what he looks like and nobody can confirm whether he will not be committing any such act in future once set free. Already one in three rapes across the country, which cross an average of 11,000 a year as per the National Crime Records Bureau, involves a minor. Uncles, Elder cousins, Neighbours, domestic helpers, etc. they have all been found guilty of sexually abusing minor children, who are supposed to be their caretakers.
From an 8-month-old to an 80-year-old, everyone has been prey to the cruelty of these sociopaths. It seems nothing has changed since the gruesome case of 2012 and the fear of law has been almost non-existent in the minds of those who dare to even think about committing such an outrageous act.
No matter how strict the laws will be made or how effective the judiciary will become, it’s the mentality of people that need to be changed and the fear of law and punishment that needs to be rooted in their minds. It’s probably the time we build a safer environment for all the daughters of the country by considering them OUR OWN daughters.
Only then… Only then the Change will be Evident.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: This article is written by Shreya Kohli, our intern.