As yet another case from Bengaluru has shown when it comes to rape and sexual assault within the family, one of the biggest challenges for survivors is to convince others of the truth.
In the latest case, the Rajagopalnagar police arrested a 44-year-old man on charges of repeatedly raping his 14-year-old daughter for almost a year. According to reports, Ramesh, a resident of Rajagopalnagar, had forced his daughter to maintain her silence by threatening to kill her mother.
According to a senior police official, the mother of the survivor had found out about the situation a few days ago. However, with her husband denying his daughterâs claims, she had not informed the police, but had called some of the familyâs relatives from Magadi to Bengaluru on Tuesday.
The relatives of the husband, however, refused to accept the word of the survivor, and demanded that the truth be proved. On Wednesday, therefore, the family took her to a woman priest, who assaulted the survivor by pressing her hand on a board of sharp nails in the name of a âtruthâ test, said the police official.
âThey forced the girl to press her hand on a stand with nails. They said that this was a way to find out the truth,â he said.
Seeing her daughter in great pain, the mother and her sister began objecting loudly. As the argument grew heated, and a commotion ensued, a person in the vicinity called the police at around 11pm on and informed them about the disturbance.
âEven then they did not inform the police or anybody. Within the family itself, they were trying to settle it,â said the police official.
The full story only came to light when Rajagopalnagar police officials arrived at the scene and began investigating.
Ramesh and three other persons were arrested, and cases were booked under various sections of the IPC, POCSO and the Juvenile Justice Act.
Despite the fact that hundreds of cases of rape within the family are reported in India each year â 557 cases were reported in 2015 alone â the first response in most such cases turns out to be that the child is lying. It often takes an overwhelming display of fear and pain on the part of the survivor to convince others.
According to one study from 2010, only 30% of incest survivors reveal what happened to them. However, many of those who do are often accused of lying or are blamed for the rape taking place. This study also reported that 52% of those who reported being abused by a parent, continued to be abused a year later.