Srinagar : I was child in my mother’s lap when she was raped in 1991. I have no memories of the incident, but as I grew up a defect in my leg made me to investigate and subsequently realize what had transpired on that dark night.
The incident had created doubts on women and we were not allowed to move out of the house because our family would fear that we might fall prey to military violence. My earliest memories of my life was the realization that I was crippled with my leg and since I was weak enough to safeguard myself I justified my families strictness towards my mobility.
But, as I grew up, a cousin once told me the reason of my deformity. She told me that my mother was raped and I was smashed down from the window of the second storey of my house. It was when my mother tried to escape from the army, who were trying to rape her. In an attempt to save herself — with me in her lap– she tried to jump off the window. But she couldn’t and instead I felt off and met my terrible fate. I got a terrible defect in my leg. I can’t walk properly.
Life was never the same again. Nobody can take the burden of my life. I don’t know who to hold responsible. No man can tolerate a disabled girl. Can anyone? I am dependent on my family and I feel powerless and in no way can I help myself. My parents would help me to get this leg cured but our poverty stopped them. In 2009, I was hospitalized for about two months in a Srinagar hospital, but they said cure was possible in Chandigarh. We had no money so we stopped the treatment.
I could have managed to work in the fields and supported my family, but this one incident changed my life forever. I can’t go and catch hold of someone and ask for marriage. Many girls in my village came back as their in-laws would taunt them about the rapes that happened in this village. There is stigma attached to such issues, and my condition is worse because I am disabled too.
At home, I burden my parents. No one would tolerate to keep me when I am a dysfunctional member of a family. Only when I can contribute, other family members will accept me. If you just sit down doing nothing then you mean nothing to anybody in this world.
My parents are worried and have to protect me as they are not able to get me married. They have this immense burden of supporting me because marriage seems impossible. I am suffering now on a different scale, an endless emotional torture from my family. I am sure it happening with other women in the village too, but for me my disability has aggravated it to dangerous extremes.
Sometimes even my mother is not the same. It perturbs me. She as a woman has faced a different scale of violence but yet at times even she fails to understand my position and hurts me. I let it go, after all she is my mother and she loves me nevertheless whatever I am.
(The memory is taken from a research conducted by Inshah Malik in 2009 in Kunan and Poshpora villages in North Kashmir. Residents of the villages says that over 80 women were gang-raped by Indian army on the night between Feb 22 and 23 in 1991.)