This Sketch By A 10-Year-Old In Delhi Sent Her Rapist To Jail

In the sketch, the judge said she had depicted an abandoned house in gloomy colours, a girl carrying some balloons with intermingled threads and her dress lying removed.

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This Sketch By A 10-Year-Old In Delhi Sent Her Rapist To Jail

A Delhi court last month convicted a man for raping his niece after judge saw the sketch.


NEW DELHI:  Relying on a traumatised child's crayon sketches drawn by a 10-year-old, a Delhi court has brushed aside claims by her uncle that she had been tutored to testify against him and convicted the 45-year-old for sexual assault. He had claimed that she wasn't a competent witness. But one look at the sketch that the girl had drawn to keep herself busy during the trial, and the judge Vinod Yadav made up his mind.

A close scrutiny of the drawing reveals that she has depicted an abandoned house in gloomy colours, a girl carrying some balloons with intermingled threads and her dress lying removed, the judge recorded in the unusual verdict that sentenced the man to five years in jail.

Viewed against the backdrop of the case, the Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav said the sketch demonstrated the lasting impression of the sexual assault on the mind of the young girl and ruled that she was competent to testify against the uncle.

The girl's nightmare date back to 2014 when she moved in with her aunt in Delhi from Kolkata after her mother died and her father, a drug addict, abandoned her.

This is also when her trauma began.

Her uncle sexually abused her. The little girl tried confiding in her aunt but she would have none of it. One day, she just slipped out of home to escape the torture. A conductor spotted her on a bus, sitting by herself and crying. He tried to reach out to her but she wouldn't say a word. He handed her over to the police, who called in the counsellors from a non-governmental organisation, Haq Foundation, for help.

For the first few sessions, her counsellor Uzma Pravin told NDTV, the girl was extremely reticent but as she became more familiar, she started opening up in bits and pieces. Uzma stitched the little nuggets of information together and started shaping up the child's narrative till she was more coherent.

But when they handed her a sheet of paper and crayons during the court proceedings, her counsellors thought they were only helping the child feel less nervous and keep them occupied. One day when the girl showed the sketch to Uzma Pravin, she turned it over to the judge.
"Her drawings revealed a lot about her. There was always something in it. Most children can't express themselves. However, if we try to look at their drawings, we can understand them," she said.

Her colleague, Bharti Ali, said drawing therapy was one of the child-friendly practices that the Delhi High Court's acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal encouraged foundations such as Haq.

The court verdict, she said, was a positive development but hoped more judges use innovative methods as well.


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