Rape victims of Sutia find voice

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"Two of the goons had pinned down my father on the floor. They had thrust a revolver in his mouth, threatening to shoot him if he tried to shout. My mother was held at a dagger's edge. And in front of their eyes, I was raped by three persons."

Twelve years ago, she was gangraped by the goons at her home in Sutia in Barasat after she protested eve-teasing. She was then just 13 years old. Now, she has joined Pratibadi Manch, a forum started by rape crusader Barun Biswas, who had to lose his life for raising voice against the rapists of Sutia, an otherwise unknown hamlet in North 24-Parganas where people were afraid to speak up against the terror of rape perpetuated by a gang of hoodlums.

In less than a year after he was shot dead by the gang members who felt threatened by 40-year-old Barun's courage, many victims of rape have joined his forum and have pledged to take forward the crusader's movement. Among the 32 rape victims, who have joined the forum, four have been included in the forum's decision-making committee.

"Barun laid down his life for us and it is our duty to carry the torch of his movement ahead and not let the fire burn out," said a 25-year-old woman who was raped by her neighbour when she was only 14 years old. Her neighbour, whom she called "uncle" one evening too her to a secluded place and forced her to drink alcohol. "I was raped throughout the night. I don't know how many men and how many times. In the morning I was dumped at my place in a semi-conscious condition," she said. That was not the end for the girl. After a couple of days, people of the gang took her away to an abandoned house in Sukhsadhur Bhitey, a less frequented area of Sutia, and raped her again. After that the family left the place and returned after the victim joined the forum.

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