I woke up to a lot of noise around and lying on the street, helpless. People passed by, shamelessly looking at me but none offered to help, until a man stopped by and covered me with a blanket. I wasn’t aware what had happened to my friend who was along. The pain was devastating. I couldn’t see or feel my genitals and neither could I move. Next I remember was opening my eyes in a hospital with my parents crying inconsolably. Doctors told me that they had never come across such a case of barbaric rape. The words shook me and all I could see was the whole act that happened in the bus, flashing in front of my eyes.
I loved Sundays, and this time I was home for a holiday. It was a beautiful morning of 16 December, 2012 and I was spending time with my family. I had come from Dehradun to spend some time with my dear ones. A good friend of mine, Awindra Pratap Pandey, had asked me for a movie, and we made a plan to watch Life of Pi – one which I wanted to see for a long time. He came over in the evening, and we had a great time that day. Everything was going well, as I wanted. I was high on excitement and wanted to share every bit of the film with my siblings. We were contemplating if to take an auto or a bus back home, but eventually decided to board a bus as we assumed it that it was always safe than an auto. Delhi, as I had heard, wasn’t a safe city to reside or travel. Little did I know that my thought would be proved right.
“Hamesha main sochti thi ki mujhe kuch nahi hoga, zindagi mein bahot kuch karna hain famliy ke liye. Doctor ban na hain.”
Up in my head I was always making a plan for my future and there in few minutes came a bus. We were asked if we wanted to board, and we did without giving any second thought. We sat in the first row of the bus and for some reason I thought of taking a glimpse of other passengers. There were only 5 men and strangely all were looking at me with sort of anger or lust. I looked away and started conversing with my friend.
“Ye koi waqt hain ladke ke saath ghoomne ka?” a man asked us. At first, we ignored, but then the other person asked the same question.
“Tumhein kya karna hain,” I said.
“Accha lagta hain kya, itne raat gaye, ek ladke ke saath ghoomti ho, tumhein toh sabak sikhana padega,” came the reply.
Before I could sense the threat in his voice, they came towards us with a grudge and some ugly thought in their mind. We shouted for help, but did not get any. One among them toughed me and my friend stopped. This made the other angry and he slapped by friend. My friend fell. We seeked the help of the driver, only to later realize that he was one amongst them and this was a well planned attack.
“Bhaiya bus roko,” I said…
…but he started laughing hard.
That moment, I realised we were trapped. But I was not going to give up. My friend again tried getting up but by then they all attacked him and hit him till he bled. I did my best to stop, but then was pushed on to a seat, and soon they all started laughing. I could sense something was going wrong and I asked again, shouted for help, but alas!
It started with one of them touching me inappropriately. I fought, I slapped and I punched. Then came the other and I continued to save myself.
“Abhi tujhe sabak seekhate hain,” said someone. Their so called, ill-fated, disgusting manly pride was hurt.
The strongest among the five held my hands and other my legs and threw me on the rear seat. The struggle continued, but by then a lot had gone through my head.
It started with one – he tore my dress, and penetrated. Then they took turns – one after the other, they committed the heinous crime without guilt. I was crying, shouting in pain and grief, but the bus never stopped. I fight continued as I was in their custody, helpless and naked. They were stinking of alcohol - all drunk. I thought I will pass out. But no, my soul did not give up - I was alive and was battling the pain.
Now the strongest man came close to me and I could see something in his hand. Before even before I could realize, he shoved the rod inside me, through the genital. I screamed as that tore me apart – I lost my voice and my strength with tears rolling down the cheeks and my soul weeping out of pain.
The only question in my mind then was… why? Why would they do this to me?
… and the next I opened my eyes was when I was lying on the street. I woke up to a lot of noise around and lying on the street, helpless….
I was a simple girl, born and brought up in Delhi. All through my life, I had only planned for a life where I can help and serve others. Why did this happen to me? Where did I go wrong? Or did I go wrong ever?
I thought I would never recover. The pain was gruesome and the thought was even more disturbing. Everything inside and around me had shaken. I saw everyone in tears; it was as though the nation was raped. I was told that my entire intestine was perforated with insertion of rods and there were bite marks on the breast. My soul had left me and there was no spirit left what so ever.
I was named ‘Nirbhaya’ and millions across the world stood beside me. My case was fought and no one gave up, hoping for justice one day. One after the other, news was being shared about men being sent to rehab and committing suicide. I couldn’t believe there were lawyers who supported them, and put me under the light for being wrong. Four men still survived and were only arrested.
Fast track courts were being formed, for faster judgment. Indian law was being questioned. Why was it taking so long? Why were they been spared from death? Was there a second thought being given, despite the brutality? The air turned sour, but hope prevailed, until one fine day Supreme court judges passed the statement and awarded the death sentence. Justice was given.
But the question still remains – does the law really need time to pass a judgment for such cases? Is the Indian law really insensitive to people like me and many others?
I realize that I was not the only one raped that night. I was ripped apart physically, but the entire nation and million was ripped mentally. I could hear the souls cry. My only wish was to see them dead, and our struggle paid off. Today I sense a relief.
I depart leaving Nirbhaya behind, for she is every girl that is fighting for her right, for justice, for her respect; and I hope we all will stand with each other, forever to change this.
I am Jyoti ‘Nirbhaya’ Singh, and this is my story…