Without any counselling, friend left to fight his demons alone

The police have so far not provided any professional counselling to the male friend of the 23-year-old gangrape victim. The friend, who was five years older than the woman who died early on Saturday, is the only witness to the gangrape and murder ó the man who actually watched helplessly as the horrific brutalisation that has shocked and traumatised all of India unfolded.

A full 15 days after the incident, police said there was no standard procedure for counselling of eyewitnesses to brutal crime. Police often approach NGOs to counsel victims of rape, however; an NGO had been called in to help the 23-year-old woman as well.

Former police commissioner B K Gupta said keeping this case in mind, a change was needed in the standard procedure followed by Delhi Police. "This is a case wherein the victim's friend was also subjected to torture. He witnessed the incident and is traumatized. He should be given counselling. Modifications of the standing orders is required. The present system is primarily for rape victims," Gupta said.

The father of the victim's friend told Newsline that he has been having breakdowns and keeping unwell. He does not want to revisit the night of December 16, but has been recalling every detail for investigators because he does not want the killers to escape.

"My son has not yet been given any counselling by either the police or any NGO. I try speaking to him myself but that does not help. My son watched them helplessly and he will never be able to forget it. I worry about his future," the father said.

Dr Nimesh Desai of Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Sciences (IHBAS) said the friend is vulnerable as he witnessed the crime and believes that he failed to save the woman.

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