Meet Vijanti, the 6-year-old victim of rape
Vijanti returned to the entrance of her house injured and fainted; her shalwar was drenched in blood.
Meet Vijanti, a girl dressed in beautiful red clothes playing like any other girl her age should.
Meet Vijanti, a girl who will never be allowed to play outside her house again.
Meet Vijanti, a girl who does not understand what happened to her.
Meet Vijanti, a girl who acted on her parents’ advice and did not talk to the stranger but still suffered.
Meet Vijanti, a six-year-old girl belonging to the Hindu community who was raped in early December 2012 in Umerkot, Sindh.
I visited her in the Lyari General Hospital with a colleague from the HRCP on December 24, 2012. After a brief chat with her doctor, we spoke to her father to find out what happened.
He told us that on the day of the incident, Vijanti and an unnamed friend of her age were playing in a street near their respective residences, when a stranger approached the girls. He offered them Rs10 to buy sweets, but they refused and tried to run away.
The victim’s unnamed friend was successful in doing so, but Vijanti was not as lucky. She was taken to a nearby community hall which was used for weddings, but was recently destroyed because of the heavy rain, and raped there.
She returned to the entrance of her house injured, and fainted at the doorstep.
Her shalwar was drenched in blood.
Vijanti’s father said that when a suspect was arrested by the police, he was not identified by the girl who was playing with Vijanti at the time, even though this would seem the logical step to take. It may be that families do not want their little daughters getting involved in such rape cases in terms of witnesses, but training children to be alert and aware of their surroundings from a young age would, in this case, have helped.
Regardless, Vijanti's life will never be the same; she is a child who has lost her childhood and innocence in just one day, but what did she do wrong?
I keep thinking about how she could have been saved. Had Vijanti screamed when the stranger offered her the money, things might have turned out differently for her. She could have alerted people of his presence which may have made it harder for him to take her away unnoticed, but then, who knows?
In times of today, can parents ever be assured that their children are safe?
Perhaps not, but we should do as much as we can collectively to ensure that all children, no matter whose they are, are prevented from suffering such a cruel fate.
First things first, education it is vitally important; parents must teach their children about what is appropriate contact and what is not. They must be taught to be weary of strangers from a young age.
However, ignoring strangers is just not enough.
Teach your children that in addition to not talking to strangers, they should create a racket when they are approached in an odd way; scream on the top of your lungs and scare the person approaching you by attracting as much attention as possible. At least in this way, people around your child will be alerted to something strange and can step in to protect him or her if you are not physically present.
It is very important to communicate this information to as many people as you can.
If you have a maid or a driver working at home who has children, ask them to protect their child. Tell them that allowing children to play without being watched is not a good idea. Alert them on the dangers this poses and advise them to ask their children to play where they can be kept an eye on.
You may think that this sort of advice will not make a difference, but if this saves even one child's innocence, it is an achievement in my opinion.
Read more by Umaima here.