Ashika Rai (19)

19-year-old rape survivor comes out to encourage others to seek help and not suffer alone

A child at just 9 years of age, Ashika Rai had her first menstruation, and she was unaware of the changes in her body. Nobody really explained to her about the significance and care needed with the start of menstruation.

Ashika was robbed of her childhood in the instant that her father’s friend raped her when she was only 11 years old. Still reeling in from the trauma, she found that she was pregnant a few months later.

She gave birth to a baby boy in August 2014, when she was 12 years old. Her son is 8 years old and studying in class I. And Ashika is a class X student.

In 2013, Ashika said her parents were on tour, and she and her brother were kept under the care of their relatives. 

On the day of incident, Ashika said, “Me and my brother were at home with our grandparents wherein they (grandparents) went for a walk. It was just my brother and I left alone. We were bored and went out to play, and in the meantime, I crossed the man (rapist) and we exchanged a smile.”

She recalls being forcefully pulled and taken to the rapist’s house. Ashika remembers feeling very scared after the rape, and she did not have the courage to share the incident with anyone, which is why she kept it to herself.

A few months after the rape, she started to have food craving for fruits and Horlicks. Her mother did not find the food cravings different from any other child going through an increased appetite during a growth spurt.

With time, Ashika started to feel dizzy and was not able to pay attention on her lessons at school. Even after the symptoms, she was not aware that she was pregnant.

“I had no knowledge about my pregnancy, but my teacher somehow knew that I was pregnant. They did not tell me, but instead asked my mother to take me to the hospital, and there the doctor said I had a pressure and nothing else. The Teacher again asked me to check up in hospital, and that was when they said I was already six months pregnant,” she said.

She said she was too young to register what was happening to her. She said the full support from her parents and teachers at school helped her to mitigate through the ordeal.

“Had it not been their support then something might have happened to me,” she expressed. She does not regret having her son.

Ashika comes across people who understand and support her while there are people who still down look upon her because of the incident.

“Thinking of it, if the incident happened during my adulthood, I would have gone into depression because the pregnancy was challenging to deal at my age, and with how people look at me. Even today, people talk behind me, but I act as though I am unaffected, as that is only the way to keep my family at ease,” she said.

Meanwhile, she said that no one should have to go through the trauma of being raped, and no one deserves it. The only solution at self-preservation and healing is to think and stay positive so no one can demean and stigmatize rape survivors.

She said, “To those victims of rape, irrespective of age, I would like to say that everything happens because of our past Karma, and there is nothing to feel bad about it. Society will judge us, but don’t give them a chance to decide our future and happiness. Be proud of who you are, and for making it until now despite a traumatizing incident in life.”

Rape is a horrific and traumatic incident, which can push the victim to attempt suicide, she said, adding that suicide is not the only option. Committing suicide would rather add burden on one’s family and can always be remembered as death from guilt.

Moreover, she said that abortion is also not the option, as she believes taking a life can haunt you forever.

“So, fight with truth and be a responsible mother no matter who the father is or how it would impact one’s living,” Ashika said.

Therefore, “It is in our hand to make our lives better, and to make society understand our situation. Our silence will further build the suspense in people, and give them the opportunity to point finger at us. So, be bold and be confident in yourself,” she further added.

She said the school counselors were of great help to her, in terms of overcoming the situation. She thanked everyone for being supportive and for accepting her as she is. 

Ashika who agreed to come out with her real name and picture said she is doing it to help and encourage other rape survivors, and to help remove any stigma against rape survivors.

Check Also

Minister answers query on exploitative nature of reality shows

During the Meet-the-Press session, The Bhutanese questioned the Minister of MoICE about how the ministry …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *