5 days back, there was a 17 year old who walked into the Emergency Room. She was not able to pass urine since the last 24 hours. We thought that she must have a bad Urinary Tract Infection. We put a rubber catheter and drained out the urine and sent a sample for microscopy.
Later, the doctor who saw her suspected something amiss and found out that she had missed her periods for 3 months. And then the story about a rape and a probable attempted abortion came into the open. The girl was send for an ultrasound. Sure, there was a dead fetus in her uterus. It was surprising that there was no bleeding per vagina when we put a catheter to drain the urine.
After obtaining consent from the girl, the father was informed about the pregnancy. Blood tests were also sent which showed that she was in sepsis.
The call I had to take was about informing the law about the rape. I took the family to my office and explained the process that I had to take as the head of the institution.
The girl and her parents would not have any of it. They did not want the police or anybody to get involved. The errant boy was from the same village.
'His family could harass us.'
'Let the issue die out. Our daughter will not get married.'
They went out reassuring me that they would get back in couple of hours. They never came back.
The family returned after 2 days saying that they did not want any treatment.
There can be a myriad of possibilities here. The girl may have been actually raped . . . she may have consented to the relationship . . . the boy's family may have given her the abortifacient . . . they may have paid the girl's family off . . .
The bottom line is that the exploitation of women is no big deal in our country. Many a time, even when they want to fight back, their options are too limited.
I remember the lines of one of our mukhiyas (village headman) while the Delhi rape case had just occurred and there was the unprecedented public ire in the whole country.
'Doctor saab, patha nahim ye itna halla kyom ho raha hai. Gavom mein ye sab hoote rahte haim. Ladki ha ijjat rakna hai, to chup chap settle karna hi accha hai.' (Dear doctor, I wonder why such a noise is being made about the whole issue. In villages, such things are quite common. If the girl should keep her honor, such things should be settled quietly).
Over the last year since the Delhi rape case, we've had umpteen number of cases reported in the media involving the high and the mighty where women had been humiliated or exploited in some way or the other.
Please take a minute and wonder about how many such cases occur on a regular scale in the whole country which never go reported . . .
Does this bother us . .. ...