In the Indian state of Bihar, the police booked 18 people, including a school principal, under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) after a teenage girl accused them of raping her repeatedly for the past seven months.
The teen said she was raped and subsequently sexually exploited when she sought help from the school administration.
According to the reports, the 13-year-old was raped in the school bathroom by three of her classmates, who also filmed the incident. The assailants sent the video to other people in the school, who blackmailed and sexually abused the victim.
It got worse after the video was reportedly procured by two teachers who, instead of helping the girl, used it to further exploit her. The ninth-grader then went to the school principal, who also allegedly sexually assaulted her.
In her statement to the police, the victim said she did not come forward sooner “fearing society would ostracize” her.
“The complaint points out that (the accused) blackmailed and repeatedly raped the girl,” said police officer Har Kishore Rai. “We’ve formed a special team and an investigation has been started on a priority basis.”
The medical examination report of the teenager will soon be released.
After the horrifying Nirbhaya rape case, India has grappled with the disturbing reality of rape. However, despite the laws, many rapists go scot-free – and a number of reasons account for this. For starters, in the aftermath of the crime, the society and the investigation procedure strip the victim of all dignity. In India, as in most other parts of the world, the investigation mostly focuses on what the victim may have worn or done to bring the situation upon herself.
In a much more sinister way, culture and societal norms ingrain in a woman that the incident has diminished the worth of their selves and bodies. This may explain why many victims and their families are reluctant to report such crimes to authorities.
Incidents of sexual violence against women have seen a sharp uptick in India over the last few years. In fact, according to the official estimated, at least 250 minors and women have reportedly been raped in the state of Bihar in the first six months of this year alone.
Banner / Thumbnail : REUTERS, Mohammad Ponir Hossain