New Delhi: As night falls, the streets of Delhi turn hostile for women as almost every night the capital reports a rape on its streets. It has been three years since the Dhaula Kuan gangrape case but the rape survivor is still struggling to lead a normal life. Thrown out of her job and with no government aid, she says the never ending rape trial only adds to her trauma.
In January 2010, shortly past midnight, a 29-year-old and her friend were returning home after a hard day's work in Dhaula Kuan when five men in a truck allegedly abducted and gangraped her. Next morning the national media carried the story - the second recent instance where a girl from the Northeast had been targeted. The police was quick to arrest all the five accused within days but that's where the story halted.
Today time stands still for her. She no longer lives in Delhi and says her case has seen little progress in the last two years. On conditions of anonymity, she now appeals for justice.
The survivor says, "The police helped at the beginning but as time passed they lost interest. The Investigating Officer (IO) doesn't take my calls anymore. After the incident I was scared to go out alone. I didn't go to work for a while. The company I worked for said they couldn't keep paying me. So I had to leave Delhi."
She was brutalised in a truck, her dreams and ambitions in life, abruptly ending. She says she came back to Delhi for the court trial, only to be traumatised further. "Why did I have to defend myself in court for wrong done to me, for being raped? I was asked several harassing questions. I was asked if I had sex before the incident and whether I struggled or not. And how could I be raped in the front seat? These questions were traumatic to answer. It shattered me from within," says the survivor.
She adds, "I was never offered help or compensation by the government or any authority. I even asked for it but was turned away. Today I cannot say that I have faith in the system.
After pressure from recent protests against crimes against women, the case has now moved to a fast-track court. But it is only when justice is done and Delhi's streets truly made safe that the thousands of young women studying and working in Delhi will actually feel secure.