Was Reena Virk Molested by Her Father? Why Did She Report Him?

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A turbulent life at school leads 14-year-old Reena Virk down a dangerous path as she falls in with the wrong crowd, and her desire to fit in with them claims her life. Hulu’s ‘Under the Bridge’ focuses on the events surrounding her death and shines a light on the consequences of bullying on the person who is being bullied and on the one who is doing the bullying. Reena experiences all of this, which is what makes her even more adamant about finding her people, the ones with whom she belongs. When she finds them, she is desperate to do whatever it takes, not just to appease them but to become an inseparable part of their group. Her desperation leads her to not only sabotage herself but also her family, which is why she makes a decision that forever alters the course of her life.

Reena Virk’s Claims Against Her Father Were Completely Fabricated

Reena Virk was a social outcast, and one of the things she blamed for this was her parents. She felt stifled, as her parents seemed too oppressive to her, leaving her with no freedom. When she looked at her friends, the girls who lived in foster homes, she formed a fantasy that because they were not under the thumb of their parents, they had much more freedom and, hence, a better life. So, she decided to have it for herself as well.

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Reena was 13 when she reported her father for sexually molesting her. The idea for the allegation came from a friend in her new circle, who suggested that the only thing she needed to be taken out of her house was to tell the authorities that her parents were abusive and she would be free of them. Of course, young Reena didn’t realize what it would mean for her parents, as well as her, but at the time, it seemed like a good idea.

Talking about this incident in his book, ‘Reena: A Father’s Story,’ Manjit Virk revealed that Reena told her friend’s mother that she was being abused at home. The lady didn’t bother to check with Reena’s parents and went straight to the police. Due to this, the Child Welfare Authorities pulled her out of her house, and she would have been placed in foster care, but her maternal grandparents lived in the neighborhood, so she was placed with them. Reena hadn’t expected this, but she still considered it a much better arrangement than living with her parents.

Reena’s parents revealed that the whole thing happened very quickly. As soon as Reena reported them, she was taken out of the house, and her allegations were not properly investigated. No one even came to the Virk house to question them about their daughter’s words against them. Instead, they simply did exactly what Reena wanted. Much like her friend’s mother, Reena’s grandparents were also concerned about the alleged abuse at home, which was another blow to her parents, who had hoped that her grandparents would knock some sense into her. Instead, they refused to let Reena come back home, even after the cops dropped the case due to lack of evidence in Reena’s claims. Considering her reluctance to come back home, her parents decided that it was better for her to stay with her grandparents rather than be placed in foster homes.

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After a while, Reena’s grandparents felt that it was time for her to go back home. This was when she took the story of abuse to her teacher, who called a social worker. They were unaware of Reena’s previous allegations, and so were the cops who filed a case. In January 1997, Manjit Virk was arrested outside his house and interrogated for five hours, left in the jail cell for a night, and released on bail the next day after he pleaded not guilty. Meanwhile, Reena kept in touch with her mother, and she even tried to talk to her father, but he was unsure of it and wanted to keep a distance from her as directed by the court.

The case put the Virk family in a very difficult situation, especially with the threat of being ostracised by their community. When Manjit refused to confess to something he didn’t do, Reena found herself under pressure to come clean about things. As a result of this, she slit her wrists, due to which she was placed in Ledger House at Queen Alexandra Center for Children’s Health for psychological assessment. Later, Reena told the authorities that she didn’t want to live with her grandparents anymore, due to which she was taken away and placed in foster care.

Whatever fantasy Reena had created in her mind about foster care fizzled away soon enough. After some time, she came back home, saying she was tired of living in a foster home and wanted to come back home. Around the same time, the charges against her father were also dropped. With Reena back at home and the shadow of the case removed from their heads, it seemed like things were finally going back to normal, though her parents did notice some changes in her. A week after Manjit Virk was fully exonerated of the charges, Reena died.

Read More: Simren and Aman: Reena Virk’s Siblings Prefer to Lead Quiet Lives Today