THEME 1: PERPETRATOR IS KNOWN TO SURVIVOR
CASE STUDY: Perpetrator is known to the survivor/victim
Sapna (name changed)
State: Madhya Pradesh
Date: April 2017
Age of the survivor: 16
A 16-year-old Dalit girl was gangraped by her boyfriend, who was from a dominant Jat caste, and five of his friends at his house in Betul district, Madhya Pradesh. When she tried to escape, her boyfriend hit her on the back of the head. Paralysed from the blow, she collapsed to the ground, and the perpetrators took turns repeatedly raping her. Eventually, they left her unconscious by the side of the road.
The following day, she was found by her family and taken to the local Government Hospital. Because of her serious injuries, she was transferred to a bigger hospital in Nagpur for treatment. Despite the horrific nature of her injuries, her family struggled to file a FIR due to resistance from the police. After weeks passed, the FIR was finally filed, some of the accused persons arrested and sent to judicial remand.
The girl remained in a coma for twenty-two days, unable to give a police statement. When she finally regained consciousness, she struggled to speak due to her physical and emotional trauma. This created further delays in the investigation, with police requiring her testimony to advance the case and produce the charge sheet.
Women’s rights activists and Dalit rights organisations conducted a rally in support of the survivor to help draw attention to her case and demand she receive justice through the criminal justice system. Her story was covered by local news outlets, which placed pressure on the police to arrest the perpetrators. Despite this, only some of the accused were detained.
Meanwhile, the survivor has been left permanently paralysed from her waist down and requires ongoing treatment and support. All the costs for her recovery are being borne by her father’s workplace. The family has received no support from the government.
Moving forward, in situations in which a survivor is in hospital, the police must facilitate video-conferencing or other means to record her statement instead of delaying a case because she is unable to travel to a police station.