It is upsetting when I look at the news and the first thing I read on a quiet evening is the rape of a 23 year old woman in India. It is always reverberating to read a rape case, but this article to me resonated. I was shocked to read the slew of words that followed discussing traditional ways of life, and the irony of this case. I couldn’t digest it- a female was ordered to be raped as a form of punishment for having sexual relations with a married man.
The turning point of the article was when I read that she was tied to a tree and raped in FRONT of the community and raped BY people in the community. People that others praise and look up to as leaders! To me a leader is someone worthy of being followed, an individual of high esteem that we hold as a role model for our actions, our decisions not someone who forces themselves unjustly on another. I was dumbfounded that the horrific truth to this was that no one stood up for her. No one even testified that this indeed did happen, when questioned people denied that this incident took place.
As I sat there in awe, I reread the article over and over again. I realized I hadn’t found anything out about the married man. What happened to the male that cheated on his wife known or unbeknown to her? There is no story I could find on him. In fact, aside from one sentence about him in numerous articles aimed at the shameful girl there was absolutely zero information on the married male. Most evidenced in this case is the level of patriarchy. Often we associate countries in the Far East as being male dominant and females subservient. To my dismay this was widely apparent through this article.
I thought 2014 would bring change. When I read an earlier article about India being polio free for three years – a milestone for the developing country, I thought this is a country that is taking steps in the right direction. I thought this was the true meaning of progress. Instead this article shed light on a country with strong traditional roles and a mentality of a people that needs to be altered, needs to be educated. The article talked about the female being shameful.
In my opinion the tribal elders and eastern village where this incident took place should be ashamed. Ashamed for accepting the current fabrics of a society with long standing issues, for using a method completely inhumane on someone for a mere action no matter how unacceptable it was. This is a country that should be setting up goals for a better tomorrow not churn more gang rape cases that worsen each time around.
By: Juliet Abdeljawad