Indian Girl Jailed After Reporting Rape

Once again, a rape case in India has placed this country in the forefront of news media, but in this case, the victim is a child.

This past Sunday, a ten year-old girl was raped in Bulandshahr, India, and after she was brought by her mother to a women's police station in Utar Pradesh to report the crime, it was the girl who was placed behind bars. There were no explanations as to why the child had to be placed in a jail cell and held there for 20 hours until a TV journalist found out about this story, filmed the child in jail and showed it to the senior superintendent of that police station.

What was shocking was the callousness showed by the women constables towards this child and her mother after reporting the crime. Instead of spearheading a search for the perpetrator as soon as it was reported, they placed the child in jail and went to their monthly crime meeting. Is it just me or are their actions incomprehensible and insensitive?

The fact that the constables who acted so reprehensibly towards the child were WOMEN is beyond shocking! Isn't it traumatic enough for any girl or woman to be a victim of rape, only to be victimized by the authorities as well for reporting the crime? What kind of people, especially those who are supposedly trained authorities to help victims find their attackers, would allow this to happen, especially to a ten year-old?

It has been reported that the treatment of this child by the constables stems from the fact that she was a Dalit, also known as Untouchable, the lowest caste in India. Is that why her case was not taken seriously? Shouldn't any crime be taken seriously, regardless of caste? Does it really come down to class when it comes to helping the victims?

While the rapist has been apprehended and the constables have been suspended, the trauma of placing this child in jail, will undoubtedly not be forgotten so easily by the child nor her family. As a mother, I'm appalled that these adults who were in charge to protect people as part of their duty failed horribly. With the previous rape case in Delhi a few months ago that made India's treatment of women so palpably visible, it is my hope that this recent crime not be seen as just another rape case. It is a crime against a child who will never be the same again after she was victimized twice - by her attacker and the police she went to for help. That's my view on this, what's yours?

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