In India, the caste system that punishes women once again reared its ugly head as a girl who was found to be raped by her father was punished by a terrible system.
The girl, believed to be around 13 years of age, says she was sleeping next to her 7-year-old brother when her father came in the room, placed his hand over her mouth, and raped her.
The girl was too afraid to report the rape at first, but as word spread across their town, they blamed and punished her for failing to report it.
A witness was so angered at the girl’s punishment that he took evidence to the police. Authorities ultimately arrested the seven members of the local council that beat the girl, and charged the father with child abuse.
“They said it was the girl’s fault. That the father was drunk and he was not in his senses,” the witness said. “I got angered at the whole thing. How could a girl invite such an act? The panch [caste council] said, ‘You’re useless, you’re the culprit.’ She was crying.”
The girl ultimately received a small amount of compensation for the ordeal, and was given a medical evaluation.
“You can’t have a parallel judiciary that’s completely unaccountable and gives arbitrary punishments — many of them barbaric,” Hamid Dabholkar, the head of an Indian advocacy group, said. “That is what happened in this case where the girl was beaten when she herself was a victim.”