True Justice is Sharing Truth | Bhoomi’s* story

After an argument with her stepmother, 15-year-old Bhoomi* visited her upstairs neighbor and friend. He persuaded Bhoomi to leave her family and meet his friends. “I’ll keep you happy,” he said. Then he sent her with a friend to another house. Bhoomi’s voice wavers as she comes to this part in the story. She first told the police that the boy and ma’am in the house gave her a powder for her headache. After that, Bhoomi passed out. She regained her senses with the boy pinning her down and sexually assaulting her. Bhoomi was scared to tell the truth. She didn’t know who would believe the real story and who would blame her for her own rape. She felt ashamed about what really happened. Children like Bhoomi need someone to listen without judgment and sensitively ask questions that bring out the truth. True Justice for Bhoomi is to authentically share her story without being judged or blamed. After a CSJ social worker counselled and sat with Bhoomi, she revealed that prior to the rape, she had consensual sex with her upstairs neighbor. Bhoomi confessed she was never drugged; her neighbour’s friend simply forced himself on her and threatened to hurt her if she didn’t comply. Bhoomi was afraid that if she didn’t put up a fight or say she was unconscious, she would be blamed. After telling the whole truth in court, Bhoomi said she felt like a weight lifted from her shoulders. Despite the trauma, she is doing well in her studies, and the government granted her interim compensation until her trial ends. CSJ continues to advocate for her case in court, and her father and stepmother support her. *Name changed to protect identity

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