A year after five-year-old Gudiya (name changed) was raped and found bleeding and fighting for her life, her family is awaiting justice. The daughter of a daily-wage earner from Gandhi Nagar in Delhi has undergone five surgeries and the family is left to fend for itself.
"So many politicians came to meet us earlier, but where are they now? Sonia Gandhi, Sushma Swaraj, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Vijay Goel, Dr Harsh Vardhan all came and paid lip service. Only Meira Kumar gave Rs2 lakh as compensation and came to inquire about Gudiya's health again," said Gudiya's uncle (name withheld). "With so many media personnel hounding our village, we haven't been able to go back home."
Gudiya, her mother and three-year-old brother came to Delhi from Phulka, Bihar, in 2012. On April 15, 2013, when Gudiya went missing, her father and uncle went to lodge an FIR. But the police station in-charge curtly asked them to look for her themselves. Two days later, she was found tied and unconscious in the basement of her building. The Swami Dayanand Hospital confirmed that she was raped. Traces of candle and bottle were found inside her. After the initial surgery, Gudiya was taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences where four corrective surgeries were performed on her in less than a month. "The doctors don't talk freely about what will happen... they told us to come back if there is a problem," said her father (name withheld).
A week later, two men - Manoj Kumar and Pradeep Kumar - were apprehended from a village in Bihar. They have been booked under the Protection of Child Rights Act (2005), but the case is still pending in court.
Gudiya's case is another example of the apathetic attitude of government officials to sex abuse victims/ survivors and their families. When she underwent surgery in mid-July 2013, Gudiya and her mother were kept in the YWCA Hostel at Connaught Place, her uncle said. "Since it was a women's hostel, we were not allowed in. After surgery, we were told to take Gudiya elsewhere. I requested them to give us a day, but they asked me to spend the night in a gurudwara instead," he said.
The family then moved to a relative's house in Mohan Nagar, struggling to make ends meet. Authorities of DPS Gurgaon offered free education to Gudiya and her brother. "They also gave me a job as a gardener. I earn Rs5,500 a month, but it is difficult to survive. I spend Rs800 on Gudiya's tuition alone," the uncle said.
The government offered Rs1 lakh as compensation and a reputed media house handed over a house to the family recently. But Gudiya's father is a worried man. "Everything we had is lost. My daughter will always carry the pain and humiliation throughout her life."