These last few days, the world was abuzz on the tragic fate that has befallen the medical student who was gang-raped by 6 men in a moving bus in the center of Delhi. News of her death has caused so much outrage at how authorities handled the incident.
I felt so much disappointment at the thought that there could actually be men who can be so brutal as to subject a helpless woman to such torture. But there are such people, and not just in India. I asked myself if they would have done the same thing if they were not under the influence of alcohol…but one was sober enough to be able to drive around the major streets of Delhi without being noticed of driving under the influence. There is NO EXCUSE for what was done to her and she and her family deserve justice.
Statistics show that there is an incidence of rape every 18 hours in Delhi. Over 24,000 rape cases in India in 2011 and less than 26% convictions. Just days before the Delhi incident, a 17-year old teenager was also gang-raped. She committed suicide in despair that no one, not even the authorities who are expected to help and protect her, did anything to charge the criminals. Pathetic is not a strong enough word to describe what the police had done. Instead of charging the criminals, the police suggested that the victim marry one of her rapists and to drop the case against her rapists. Is that not adding insult and more humiliation to the injury inflicted on her? It is tragic enough that the victims suffered so much from these criminals. But it is so much worse that the very people expected to protect them have shamelessly dishonored themselves from the very people they have SWORN TO PROTECT.
The article posted by Olga Khazan and Rama Lakshmi on December 29, 2012 in the Washington Post put it quite directly, “It will be hard to end discrimination against women at police stations when it starts in the crib.” It is not just the handling of the rape incidents by authorities that is flawed and despicable. The mindset of a highly patriarchal society HAS TO CHANGE. Women are neither objects nor chattel to be abused, sold or traded. No man will exist without women bearing and giving them life. WHEN will these men even realize that? To make matters worse, some women even seem to accept the state of women being in a lower social stature than men. Do the women have to rise up in arms against such men to defend themselves from brutal violence and at the very least be treated with respect? Is that why there are men who take such pain in making sure girls are deprived of an education, sold in brothels, or made to work at home to do chores? To make sure they do not surpass the superiority of men? Because they’re dispensable? JUST GIRLS?
As outrage burst in the streets of India, the gang-rapes continued. A10-year old was gang-raped and fished out from a canal in Bihar state's Saharsa district. Another 14 -year old schoolgirl was in critical condition in Banka district of Bihar after she was raped by four men. Gang-rapes seem to have become so common. Delhi has earned itself the title of being the “rape capital” of India. Not a title to be proud of. Or is it to the men who think violating women makes them superior and strong?
The truth cannot be ignored. Women have EVERY RIGHT to be educated, to be respected, to walk the streets at night and live without fear because their gender exposes them to people who never learned what respect for human life is.
WE HAVE TO LEARN TO FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS AND BE INDEPENDENT! We cannot just take things sitting down and accept a degrading fate of being dependent on men for our daily food and survival.
Let the memories of what happened to Aruna Shanbaug, Hanufa Khatoon, Bhanwari Devi and many others like them, some nameless and never to be found ever be forgotten. They deserve no less. Do not let all they suffered for be in vain.
LET IT NOT BE IN VAIN
By Lylin Aguas
- India Bus Gang Rape: Outrage Spreads Over Public Sexual Assault - http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/12/29/india-rape-victim-dies-sexual-violence-proble/
10 reasons why India has a sexual violence problem - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/19/india-bus-gang-rape_n_2329002.html?ref=topbar