Sakinaka Rape-Murder: Victim's Daughters Face a Life of Poverty, Trauma, Slander
Ground report from Sakinaka | The victim's mother says she is worried about raising her granddaughters – alone.
"We are daily wagers and don't have a stable income. I have to pay Rs 2,000 rent for this room. And now, I'll have to raise my two granddaughters alone," says the mother of a 32-year-old Mumbai woman, who was brutally raped, assaulted inside a tempo in Sakinaka on Thursday, 9 September. She succumbed to her injuries shortly after.
Anita* (name changed to protect identity) belonged to a scheduled caste. She lived in a small room near the Sakinaka Junction with her mother and two daughters – aged 11 and 15 – who have not attended school offline or online since the first coronavirus lockdown.
The incident, which took place in the vicinity of Sakinaka police station, has triggered massive public and political outrage. But beyond the headlines, it has left the victim's family in dire straits – facing abject poverty, public slander, and the trauma of the ordeal.
The Quint visited the area to meet Anita's family. The victim's family members and her neighbours narrated what happened that day, and shared the pain left behind in the aftermath.
‘She Came Home for Only 10 Minutes... And Then She Was Gone'
Anita came home in the evening to see us but left only 10 minutes later, her mother said, while recounting the events of that night.
When Anita did not return home on time, the family started to get worried. We looked for her in the neighbourhood but she wasn't there, the mother added.
"The next thing we know, we got a call from the police post midnight... between 3 am and 4 am, regarding the incident."Anita's Mother
A Failed Marriage, Anxiety and Slander: What The 32-Year-Old Survived on a Daily Basis
After separating from her husband in 2015, Anita was dependent on her mother. Her sister told The Quint that there was very little that she could contribute to the household, owing to regular anxiety and panic attacks which stemmed from her trauma of separation.
"She spent very little time with her daughters and was barely home because that reminded her of her failed marriage. She found it difficult to cope."Victim's Younger Sister
The family was dependent on Anita's mother who ran a vegetable stall in Sakinaka which was razed by the Mumbai civic body during the COVID lockdown, stating that the it "encroached" public area. Since then, the family has been surviving on whatever little savings they had.
Another relative of the victim told The Quint about several "rumours" doing the rounds in the neighbourhood. "When she was fighting for her life, these people were blaming her for the rape only because she was separated and was out at night when the incident happened," the relative said.
"How is that justified?" her sister added.
This is not the first time that a victim is being blamed for rape in India. From people on social media to politicians have made remarks shaming the victim and justifying rapes on many other previous occasions.
'Reminded Me of Nirbhaya'
A childhood friend of Anita's who lives in the same neighbourhood told The Quint, on the condition of anonymity, that from what was described to them by the cops and later by the doctors, the incident reminded him of the Nirbhaya rape case in Delhi.
"It reminded me of Nirbhaya, the way her body was mutilated. Only an animal could do that," he said.
As per Mumbai Police, the accused Mohan Chauhan, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, has confessed to his crimes. He used a weapon to stab the woman's private parts which resulting in loss of blood and eventually the death of the victim.
In a press conference on Monday, 13 September, Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale said that the accused and the victim were known to each other and a financial dispute between them led to the sexual assault and murder.
However, the family maintains that the victim did not know the accused. "We don't know who the accused it. As far as I know and remember, my sister never mentioned anything about him before," her sister told The Quint who is married and lives in Mumbai.
Accused Nabbed, But Justice Still a Far Cry
The family of the victim said that while the Mumbai Police has been quick in making the arrest, justice is still a distant dream for them.
"Even if the accused is punished, will it be justice for these two girls, who have lost their mother?"Victim's mother
While Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has promised to fast-track the trial and a sum of Rs 20 lakh for the victim's minor daughters, those close to the victim say that no amount of compensation will be able to bring her back or help her daughters deal with the trauma.
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