Fifteen-year-old Bitiya endured unspeakable trauma when she was raped by four upper caste men who filmed the heinous crime for sale in the market. But she stood up to her rapists and is now fighting a case against them in Uttar Pradesh.
In 2012, then 13-year-old Bitiya (name changed), a Dalit, was gang-raped in a village in Uttar Pradesh. The men filmed the crime and sold the video in the local market.
To her horror, she was thrown out of school.
At the Women in the World Summit in New Delhi on Friday evening, she told a grim audience: “I was thrown out of the school saying I will be a bad influence on others. The school teachers treated me as an accused. The villagers pressurised me to take the complaint back.”
Her mother said police initially refused to cooperate. She said their lawyer accepted bribes from the accused and attempted to destroy the evidence.
Bitiya’s mother said: “My husband died from a heart attack after he came to know that such a video of our daughter getting raped was being sold in the local market.”
But her family continued their fight to get justice.
Bitiya said her father’s support gave her courage to file a complaint.
Local activists came to their aid. They say that since Bitiya’s family had lodged a police complaint, they were encouraged to take up the case.
Madhavi Kukreja, founder of an NGO about women’s empowerment and growth, said members of the upper caste community offered the Dalit family some money to end the case.
But Bitiya remained defiant and relentless in her pursuit of justice. She is back in school now and is fighting the case against the accused.