A heartfelt letter from a mother to her ‘victim’ daughter

I failed you my child. This society failed you. This country failed you. In fact, humanity failed you.

Dear Bitiya,

As I write this, my mind is clouded with so many emotions. I am enraged, disappointed, sad, bitter, pensive and numb at the same time. I feel terrible as a mother because I could not protect you from those lecherous men who saw you as nothing more than an object to satisfy their lust. When I held you in my arms for the first time, I promised to keep you safe and to protect you. I feel terrible that just 5 years later, I could not save you when you breathed your last in the hospital. I cannot forgive myself for I could not punish those animals who violated your dignity and showed no mercy as they took turns to plunder your fragile body.

I am told that one of those lecherous bastards was an employee at your school. I shudder to think that you and many other girls in your school were in his easy reach. Why did he choose you to be his target that day, I will never know. But I can imagine how much physical pain you would have gone through and how much struggle it would have been.

I remember once you had fallen down the stairs and hurt your forehead when you were 2.5 years old. You were crying inconsolably and I rushed you to the doctor. Although it wasn’t a major injury, I kept blaming myself for the fall. But yesterday, when I saw your black and blue face, swollen and torn lips, bite marks on your neck and shoulders and your blood-stained school uniform, a part of me died. To see a child in such state is the worse than death for any parent.

I failed you my child. This society failed you. This country failed you. In fact, humanity failed you. This rape, like all rapes, happened because a few men decided to desecrate a female’s body. Some of those men happily went home, played with their own children, slept with their wives and behaved as if nothing had happened.

Even more disheartening is the attitude of the school, the press and the Government. When I sent you to that renowned school every day, I entrusted the authorities with your safety and well-being. Instead of taking accountability for their fault, the school is avoiding questions and denying allegations. The press is more interested in the religion of the ‘victim’ and the caste of the rapists. The Government is still not convinced that the dignity of women in our country is covered by a gossamer fabric that any man can tear apart without any fear. I am told by the Police that this ‘case’ will be expedited and justice will be served. But can they ever bring back the smile on your face, or mine?

I still cannot come to terms with the fact that you have left for your heavenly abode. My life will never be the same. I wonder, how to raise your baby sister now? How to ensure her safety and dignity? Whom can I trust in times like these, my dear child? My tears have dried and my screams muffled behind the closed doors of our judicial system. The moment I close my eyes, I see you, screaming in pain as those men play with your body. I am burning inside, and I don’t know how long it will take before I will be able to sleep.

The only solace I have, my child, is that you are in a much better place now, a place where you will be away from merciless and heartless people. Go my child, rest in peace.

Your helpless mother.

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