Note- This post addresses the issue of rape, violence, safety for women. Just letting you know in advance.
Time for some real talk. Today I want to talk about something that happened recently in Delhi, India. I wanted to talk about this before but I was so angry and upset I felt I would explode. But I need to talk about this.
For those of you who may not know, here’s a what happened. On 16 December 2012 a female physiotherapy intern was beaten and gang raped in Delhi.
The victims, a 23-year old woman and her male friend, were on their way home after watching the film Life of Pi in South Delhi. They boarded a chartered bus at Munirka for Dwarka that was being driven by joyriders at about 9:30 pm. The minor among the accused had called for passengers telling them that it was going towards their destination. The woman’s friend became suspicious when the bus deviated from its normal route and its doors were shut. When he objected, the group of six men already on board taunted the couple, asking what they were doing alone at such a late hour.
When the male victim tried to intervene, he was beaten, gagged and knocked unconscious with an iron rod. The men dragged the woman to the rear of the bus, beating her with the rod and raping her while the bus driver continued to drive. Medical reports later suggested that the woman suffered serious injuries to her abdomen, intestines and genitals due to the assault. According to the International Business Times, a police spokesman said that the youngest attacker “sexually abused his victim twice and ripped out her intestines with his bare hands.” According to police reports the woman attempted to fight off her assailants, biting three of the attackers and leaving bite marks on the accused men. After the beatings and rape ended, the attackers threw both the victims from the moving bus. Then the accused allegedly tried to drive the bus over the woman but she was pulled aside by her male friend. The victims were found by a passerby on the road, partially clothed and unconscious, around 11 pm. The passerby phoned the Delhi Police, who took the couple to a hospital, where the female victim was given emergency treatment and placed on mechanical ventilation. She was found with only 5% of her intestines left inside of her. On 21 December 2012, the government appointed a committee of physicians to ensure she received the best medical care. By 25 December 2012, she remained intubated, on life support and in critical condition. On 26 December, she was moved to Singapore for further treatment, where she died on 29 December.
I can’t even describe how I feel. I am SO angry, so horrified, so disgusted by what happened that I can’t really describe it. And in Delhi! The capital city of India. How can a human being do something so brutal to another human being? These people aren’t even human.
Women are not safe in India. They’re not really safe anywhere in the world but first I want to talk about India. It seems to me that everyday, a woman gets raped in India. Why does this happen? Laws are not strict enough. Rapists know that they won’t get caught. Even if they did, some money and influence will let them go free. And some statements by some stupid politicians has got me smashing things and turning into The Hulk.
Andhra Pradesh Congress president Botsa Satyanarayana earned the wrath of the people after describing the Delhi gang-rape as a “small incident” and saying that women shouldn’t go out during late hours.
Abhijit Mukherjee, Congress MP and son of President Pranab Mukherjee, kicked off a row with his outrageous reference to female protestors in Delhi as “dented and painted.” “I would term the protests in Delhi as what is popularly known as Pink Revolution. It is becoming fashionable to land up on the streets with candle in hand. Such people are completely disconnected from reality. They go to discotheques. I am very well versed with student activism and I can bet on it that most of the protesters are not students. They are dented and painted women chasing two minutes on fame, giving interviews on TV. The protesters do not fall in the age group of students,” Abhijit told a news channel in Kolkata. Following intense criticism, Mukherjee offered a public apology for his sexist comments.
“Skirts should be prohibited keeping in view the rise of social crimes against women. The school should have pant-shirts or salwar suits as uniforms for girl students,”
—Banwari Lal Singhal, BJP legislator in Rajasthan writes to chief secretary
Oh yeah, girls get raped because they wear skirts. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the rapist is a sick, disgusting psycho.
One suspect’s lawyer, Manohar Lal Sharma, announced that his client would plead not guilty to all charges. Sharma states that the victims are responsible for the assault because as an unmarried couple they should not have been on the streets at night. In an interview he said, “Until today I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady. Even an underworld don would not like to touch a girl with respect.”
Umm…excuse me? What about the children that get raped? So they’re not respectable? That’s why they get raped. That makes no sense.
But there have also been reasonable statements which give me a little bit of hope.
“A real tribute to her will be to ensure maximum punishment to the culprits. I pledge to work to strengthen the laws and ensure that such an incident never gets repeated again.” Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde
“Shut all temples where you pretend to worship the female form. Cry India! Your hands are drenched with the blood of your own daughters. Woman your silence will not protect you. Speak or be silenced forever. Rage.” -Mahesh Bhatt
“Enough is enough. It is not the death of Nirbhay Damini but the death of humanity in our country. It is time for the government to wake up from its deep slumber and punish the criminals behind this heinous crime.” – Singer Lata Mangeshkar
And the other thing that makes me happy? The demonstrations and protests that have been happening all over the country. I feel like change is coming, because things are actually happening. People are outraged and they’re not going to let these people get away with this. Public protests took place in New Delhi on 21 December 2012 at India Gate and Raisina Hill, the latter being the location of both the Parliament of India and Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the President of India. Similar protests have occurred throughout the country. Thousands of people silently marched in Kolkata. Protests have occurred online as well on the social networking sites Facebook and WhatsApp, with users replacing their profile images with a black dot symbol. Tens of thousands have signed an online petition protesting the incident .
After the woman’s death on 29 December, protests were staged all over India, including Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai, Visakhapatnam. Many of the mourners carried candles, wore black dress and some pasted black cloth across their mouths. The following day a large number of people staged protests near Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.
This is a wake up call for India. There are soo many girls getting raped everyday and most of them have not got any justice. Just talking about this is not enough. I really do hope strict action is taken against the five rapists because they deserve to be taught a lesson. They deserve a death sentence. Nobody would ever dare to do something like this again.
To people who say the reason girls get raped is because they dress provocatively ? I’m sorry, but that’s still no excuse. There is no reason for rape. Absolutely nothing. Nada. Zero. Nobody has the right to rape another person. It doesn’t matter what they’re wearing or saying. Somebody is cooking food, doesn’t mean you can eat it. A banker is counting money, but that doesn’t mean the money is yours. The same way, a woman is wearing jeans and a top, doesn’t mean you can rape her. Have some sense people. Where’s your humanity? Don’t you have mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces, cousins? What if something like this happened to them? Would you say the same thing then?
This is not a problem just in India, it happens all over the world. As women and girls, we are not safe. We are not treated equally, or with respect. It is time for us to stand up and show the world that this is not okay, things can’t keep going on this way. It is time for change. Time to change the way people think, by spreading awareness and making laws stricter. It is time to fight, fight against the injustice that is prevalent in our society.