LAHAN, April 7: Children are taught not to trust strangers. But when relatives or close neighbors betray, it becomes even more concerning. Rape cases in the district has brought to the fore that girls are unsafe even among their own dear and near ones.
An 11-year-old girl of Siraha Municipality - 3 was raped by his neighbor last month. She was busy feeding her cow at around seven o'clock in the evening when the boy came around and took her under control. He raped her and fled. When her family member noticed her, she was lying unconscious at the shed and bleeding excessively.
After a week of treatment in Lahan Hospital, the little girl returned home. Even though she has given all details of the culprit, he is still at large.
Two weeks later, another minor girl was raped at Siraha Golbajar. She was attacked and raped by few boys, while she was on her way back home from the market in evening. She was near her home when this incident happened. The girl was taken to a nearby flower garden and the boys took turns on her. The police have held one in this case while two of the accused are still at large.
The same month, another 14-year-old was also raped by her neighbor. The girl from Golbazar - 7 was raped at around eight o'clock in the evening. Few days after this case was reported, another girl became victim. An 11-year-old girl from Siraha Municipality - 3 was raped by few boys. One of the boys was her relative.
Recently, yet another 14-year-old girl from Gadhimai Municipality - 8 was raped while she was collecting fodder in her fields.
These incidents show that minor girls are falling easy prey to their neighbors and relatives. And they are being attacked, more often than not, when outside their home and that too in the dusk.
A 15-year-old girl in Siraha Municipality - 14 was raped last week by her 24-year-old neighbor. She was also working in her fields during dusk. Three months ago, 13-year-old girl of Lahan - 18 was raped by her own cousin brother.
In most of these cases, accused are yet to come under police net. Victim's family lament that police does not take such cases seriously. However, police defend their actions claiming that 'they try their best' to book the accused.
Whatever be the truth, rape cases are simply rampant in towns and villages and those who are victimizing little girl are very familiar people.
While talking to Republica, the rape survivors stated that they had no way to escape it as they were victimized when they were alone. Post rape, most of the girls are in trauma. They say that they feel worse to see the culprits not being punished. This only further terrorizes them and leaves room for the culprits to rape the victims again.
Locals meanwhile demanded stringent action against rapists. Until and unless the state appears very hard upon such criminals, girls and women cannot be safe, they argue.
Only a few are booked in cases of sexual violence and even they are booked and taken into custody, they get out of it using political or other kind of influence. Raped girls say that they have no clear idea on legal provisions against rapists, nor do they believe that the provisions work.
The graph is alarming
Going by the police reports, rape cases have alarmingly increased in the last few years. This fiscal year, so far, 46 rape cases have come to the fore. Last year, in the entire year, 26 rape cases were reported. And in the year before that, only 17 such cases were reported.
Police state that multiple reasons have triggered the hopping rise. Police also believes that rape is more widely reported these days. Further analysis indicates that minor girls from poor and marginalized families are mostly the victims. Unregulated internet service, lack of sex education amid suppression of sexual desire and so on have given rise to sexual crimes in the society, according to DSP Shashi Sharma. "There are too many reasons why rape is being so rampant in society. Our stringent action alone cannot curb it. It is a huge social and psychological problem," he said.
"However, girls from poor families are often victims. This shows that there is also a factor like security. Very strong social awareness campaign and other actions must be carried out to address this critical problem," he added.