I arrived in Nepal from Bangalore on 2 June, and wanted to sincerely follow the government’s orders and therefore headed straight to the quarantine facility.
It was set up in Shahid Smriti Secondary School of Lamki Chuha Municipality, Ward -1 in an area known as Thapalipur. Others in the shelter had been there for 13-14 days, and were being sent home.
I had been in the quarantine centre for 12 days myself, and was hoping that I could leave in two days as well. I had not met my children or my family and was missing them. But on the night of Saturday, 13 June a horrible thing happened.
That night, I was not feeling well, had a severe headache and could not fall asleep. It was midnight when two workers in the quarantine — a healthcare worker and a ‘volunteer’ — raped me.
When the volunteer assaulted me I ran to the ‘doctor’ hoping he would help me. I cried, saying “You are like a brother to me, please save me from this monster.” Instead of helping, he replied, “I am a doctor, I know everything” and started forcing himself upon me. As they took turns raping me, I saw another person recording it all on a video through the window.
That day there were 6 other men in that quarantine facility. I was the only female, and was kept in the room at the end of the hallway. There was heavy rainfall that night which created loud noise on the tin roof.
I felt that everyone would blame me for what happened and was petrified. I couldn’t even let out a scream for help. That day I realised that fear can leave you frozen.
They had thrown my clothes in a corner. I collected myself, returned to my room and blocked the door with a bench. I tied that bench to a window and sat on it.
But they came to my door again and tried to talk to me. “I will not let you get away with this,” I shouted at them. Then, the one who recorded me on the phone said he would delete the video only if I paid him, or else he would make it “go viral”.
I kept on repeating that I would make them pay for what they did to me, and they left.
The next morning, I called my brother to bring my mother along. I couldn’t even walk properly. When my mother saw me limping she kept asking me what happened, and I told her everything.
My brother heard it as well. He was enraged and he started to shout slogans. Eventually, everyone found out. Many people joined my brother at the Ward office to complain. Someone attacked them with a stone that hit my sister-in-law. She suffered severe injuries on her left cheek and gums and had to be taken to Nepalganj for treatment.
My medical check-ups were done on the night of the incident. I also visited the local police office and registered a complaint against them. Later on, I met with the district attorney in Dhangadi.
This now an ongoing case in the district court, and I hear the three have been arrested by the police. I hope the government gives them the harshest punishment for the crime they have done to me. They should not be freed at any cost.
When my husband got married to another woman and moved to India, I had to raise our sons on my own. It was really hard. To give them a chance at a better future, I went to work in Bangalore two years ago. I have many family members and relatives there. I had visited Nepal last year as well for a short while.
But I had been feeling sick for four months, suffering from a skin disease and was receiving medical treatment for it in Bangalore. Then, the lockdown started. I spent a few days on my own, and then went to live with a relative. But there was no sign of the lockdown being lifted, so I decided to return home to Kailali in Nepal.
After this traumatic incident, I spent a lot of days visiting the police station and the lawyer at the District General Attorney Office, which worsened my health. Yesterday, I couldn’t even get out of my bed the whole day.
Initially, after the assault, one part of me thought that I will be blamed for everything and that I should just keep quiet. However, I told myself that if I kept quiet many other women returnees in quarantines facilities might also suffer the same fate. So, I mustered up the courage to stand up against them. My brother and mother supported me in this.
I have suffered a lot in my life. If my family had not been by my side at time I would probably have ended my life early on. It is because of their continuous love and support that I have been able to bring my story out with courage and dignity.
The crime against me that night was horrifying and unbearable. My brother tells me to not loose hope, and reminds me that they are here with me. He tells me that I don’t need to feel small, and that makes me feel strong from within when he tells me those things.
Besides my family and relatives, my neighbours and friends side with me as well. Everyone demands justice, but when will I get justice?
As told to: Katha Corona Team