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12-Year-Old Mother, Who Was Allegedly Raped, Victim-Shamed At School In Bengal

Prejudice much?

05/05/2017 3:08 PM IST | Updated 05/05/2017 4:28 PM IST
Adnan1 Abidi / Reuters

A 12-year-old girl, who was allegedly raped in May 2016 and went on to give birth to a girl child in March this year, has forced to seek a transfer certificate from a school in Bengal, her family members claimed.

According to reports, the headmistress of the institution she was attending accused her of bringing a bad name to the school and publicly insulted her. While her fellow students weren't hostile, a section of their parents expressed concern over the questions their children may ask after interacting with the girl.

"They asked me whether I would be able to answer their children's queries if they asked me about rape," the headmistress told The Time of India, adding that people were also suspicious how such an incident could take place without the girl's family being aware of it until it was too late. Since the school is only until Class VII, she advised the girl's family to accept a transfer certificate and send her elsewhere. The girl's family, however, has a different narrative altogether.

A case of rape was reported to the police long after the alleged crime had taken place, which is not too uncommon in a society like India. By the time the girl was found pregnant, she too far gone to be advised abortion. It was only after she gave birth that accusations of rape were levelled at her 38-year-old karate teacher. The neighbours, however, had another version of the story.

According to a report in the Hindustan Times, on the day the girl delivered her baby, locals attacked her grandfather, who they suspect of carrying on with an incestuous relationship with her. Although the 65-year-old has denied these claims and offered to undergo a DNA test to verify the parentage of the baby, he was assaulted by a mob and the family's home in Bargachhia, in Jagatballabhpur, was vandalised.

Apart from having to deal with his daughter's predicament, the girl's father, who works odd jobs, is doubly distressed by the accusations against his own father. Since the baby was born, she is being looked after by the girl's aunt, who said the family will approach Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for financial support her niece and her baby.

In the mean time, the girl's father is looking for a suitable school, some 15 km away from their home, to send his child to, where she would, hopefully, not be victim-shamed as she apparently was at the current institution.

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