The abuse had been going on almost daily for close to two years, but the mother’s refusal to believe her forced the girl to finally put her camera phone in the room and tape her 58-yearold step-dad assaulting her.
The mother, who had once confronted the man but was satisfied with his denials, then approached the police and got the man arrested.
The Kolsewadi police on July 22 charged the man with aggravated sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and arrested him.
The mother admitted to the police that she had ignored her daughter’s repeated complaints as she could not bring herself to believe that her husband of seven years could do such a thing. She said he has a daughter from a previous marriage who now lives in the United States. When she confronted him the first – and only – time he told her it was a figment of the girl’s imagination.
The mother said she did not believe her daughter even when she found a supposed suicide note detailing the abuse last year. The girl, who has just completed her SSC from a reputed school, said her step-dad, who runs a plastic manufacturing unit in Kalyan, would come home for lunch around the same time she returned from the school.
“For the last two years he had been abusing me when we were alone in the afternoons,” the girl told Mirror. “He would come home on the pretext of resting in the afternoon, turn on the TV and make me sit next to him on the sofa. He would then abuse me. Despite my repeated complaints to my mother, she would never believe me. That is when I decided to keep my cell phone with its camera on near the TV on the pretext of charging it and tape the act.”
She taped the abuse two days running and showed the decisive evidence to her mother, who immediately agreed to lodge a police complaint.
“Though we have been married for seven years, we have known each other for 14 years,” the mother, who works as a data entry operator in a small firm, told Mirror. “My daughter grew up in front of him. I never imagined he would harm my daughter.”
The shocked mother said she was now devastated for having never believed her daughter. “The first time my daughter mentioned the abuse, I confronted him,” she said. “He told me he treated my daughter like his own. He went to the extent of telling me that he was missing his daughter who was in the US.”
Somehow trusting him over his daughter, the mother kept ignoring further complaints. Sometime last year, the mother found a suicide note detailing the abuse again but stopped her daughter from doing anything. Even then, the mother dismissed it as the behaviour of an adolescent who did not like her step-father.
“He really took good care of us,” said the mother. “After my divorce from my first husband, I met this man and he was very kind to me. I never doubted him for a second especially after he swore on his own daughter and told me he loved my daughter as his own.”
Advocate RA Nair, who is representing the girl, said they will oppose bail for the man. “He has committed a heinous crime,” said Nair. “While the police will definitely oppose his bail, we want to be doubly sure he does not get out.” The local police, while confirming they will oppose bail for the man, lauded the girl for her courage. “She is a brave girl who decided to take matters in her own hands and used technology to her advantage,” said DCP Sanjay Jadhav.