In what is perhaps the most heinous rape case of 2021 on the 2nd of March 2021, Nima Dorji Sherpa aged 38 of Tsirang raped an eight-year-old, class two boy.
The Tsirang Dzongkhag Court sentenced him to 16 years in prison for the crime on 3rd November 2021, but while the mother of the victim feels the state has done its job in getting him convicted she feels the punishment is very light compared to the young life he has destroyed.
The mother said that her son was walking back from school along the main path when Nima Dorji Sherpa came across the boy and lied to him saying he needs the boy’s help to carry something.
“My son initially refused saying his mother will scold or beat him if he comes home late, but the man persisted and took advantage of the kind hearted and helpful nature of my son. The man said he needs help to lift up a sack of salt which he bought for his cow. My son agreed to help and followed the man into the bush,” said the mother.
After walking for a while the boy again told the man again that his mother would be upset and he said he wants to turn back, but the man said the salt bag is only a short distance away and he said this repeatedly until they reached a cave.
The mother said the man led the boy to the cave and then turned on the boy. The small boy who is only in class two struggled and this is when the man threatened to kill the boy and throw his dead body near a stream or string him up on a tree where nobody would find him and he would die. The boy still resisted but the man raped him.
“My son told me that he felt that he would die that day. My son would have been surely been killed after the incident to cover up the crime, but as the man was wearing his clothes my son took the opportunity and ran for his life towards the road,” said the mother.
Nima pursued the boy, but he could not catch him once the boy reached the main road and met his grandfather who had come looking for him.
The boy told his grandfather about the incident and the grandfather and the boy waited at a junction and let the man pass and then followed him at a distance to see where he lives.
The man entered the house of a person known to the grandfather.
The grandfather then took the boy home and along with a couple of male neighbors went to the house and got the identity of the man who had just come in and left.
The boy was taken to the hospital for medical checkup and treatment and the police was informed about the crime and also the identity of the perpetrator.
This is when the arrest and the subsequent legal proceedings happened.
However, this was also the start of a nightmare for the mother and her son.
The mother said the boy had already lost his father around three years ago when the boy was five years old, and the incident had already impacted him as the boy and the father were close.
The father also happened to be the only earning member.
The mother was trying to start a business with some savings, but once the pandemic struck she though it better to move back to her village in Tsirang with her son in 2021 and also transfer his school there.
The boy had just started attending school for a few weeks when this incident happened.
The rapist, Nima Dorji Sherpa, who are not known to the boy and the mother moved from Thimphu to Gelephu and then to Tsirang.
He is registered in his census records as a farmer, but he also took up private work in urban areas.
After the incident, the mother who had saved some money to open a small shop used it all up in traveling to Thimphu and getting extensive treatment and therapy for her son which took months. Money was also spent on prayers done for son’s well being.
The mother said that in Thimphu and with rapidly diminishing funds and no income she approached RENEW for help first by recounting her story, but she was told the CSO only deals with women.
She then went to Tarayana where she was told the CSO used to handle such cases in the past , but no longer does so.
She said she was advised to go to NCWC but she said she did not do so as everywhere she went she had to recount her painful story, but there was no help and she felt ashamed to keep doing the same.
Recently a CSO named Nazhoen Lamtoen got in touch with her but they said their annual budget or programs is over, but they put together some money for her for her travel expenses.
Her financial distress was compounded as the family members of the Nima have so far refused to pay the Nu 366,918 compensation awarded by the court even though it means Nima will serve a longer sentence if this money is not paid.
This is while the boy is still suffering form severe Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and according to the mother tried several times to kill himself. He has nightmares and is not himself.
She said he does not want to stay in the village, but even though she wants to move away she does not have the financial resources to do so.
The smell of cigarette smoke and the sight of cigarette butts disturbs the boy deeply which the mother feels is because the rapist must be a smoker.
She said that sometimes when the boy sees other men he gets scared and asks her if it could be Nima.
She said, “Even though my son lost his father at the age of five he was still a kind, humble and disciplined boy, good in his studies. Now even when I scold him a bit he says he wants to die and join his father in heaven.”
The mother said that she still regrets that the school was quite far away from their home in the village, consisting of a 45-minute walk and required crossing two streams. She said her son who was in class two in 2021 being new in school did not have friends and moved unaccompanied.
The mother said that she is not certain about her son’s future, but she will have to try and make a living and build a future for him.
Editor’s Note: The Bhutanese will henceforth publish the pictures of rapists of heinous rape crimes so that more victims can come forward if there are any, people can be aware of them for the safety of their family members or children, and to serve as a deterrent.