A 20-year-old recalls her ordeal of being raped on the street by a friend’s acquaintance, who was supposed to wait with the pregnant woman for her ‘safety’; the man was sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment yesterday
A young woman’s fight for justice paid off yesterday, when a city Sessions Court sentenced a 30-year-old for raping her last year, when she was one-month pregnant. Special women’s court judge A S Shende handed a sentence of 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment to the accused, Eshwar Caseghodam (30), a resident of Wadala.
The woman is also a Wadala resident. The incident had taken place on April 18, 2014. In her deposition in court last year, the 20-year-old survivor had said she had gone to Kandivli in search of work that day. After taking care of some work in Nallasopara, she reached Wadala station at 11 pm. There, she saw a family friend on a motorcycle.
She requested him to drop her home, and the friend agreed. However, on the way, he told her he was running short of petrol and needed to refuel. He left her at Chaar Rasta, Wadala, with Caseghodam, whom he knew. Caseghodam was supposed to wait with her for her safety, until her friend returned.
The accused began chatting with the woman and, suddenly, touched her inappropriately. When she objected, Caseghodam punched her in the face and kicked her in the stomach and private parts. He then raped her and the heinous sexual assault only stopped when Caseghodam’s nephew suddenly showed up at the spot.
While she managed to run from the spot, her trauma was far from over. “After the incident, I waited for my friend to return, but he never came. So, I requested a bus driver to help me reach home. I didn’t speak of the incident to my mother, who scolded me for coming home late.
The next evening, I was unable to bear the pain and told her everything. She took me to Sion Hospital,” recalled the survivor. The hospital authorities informed the police and a case was registered at Matunga police station.
Public Prosecutor Kalpana Hire, who examined around eight witnesses, including the survivor and the nephew, said, “The nephew was the only eyewitness. But he turned hostile, though he confirmed the presence of the victim at the spot.
The woman was unaware that she was one month pregnant at the time of the incident. She was seven months pregnant when she deposed in court (last year).” In an all-too-typical fashion, she was blamed for no fault of hers. Her husband left her and she had to endure barbs from locals.
“I changed my house because people would taunt me for what I went through. I still have the mark on my face where Caseghodam hit me. I have a four-month-old baby and no job. I can’t leave my child under the care of my ailing mother. Caseghodam’s family tried giving me money to settle the matter, but we didn’t accept any.
Such men, if set free, will be a terror to us women. I am happy he has been jailed for 10 years,” she told mid-day. She also said the government had promised her compensation but she was yet to see any money.