On The Delhi Gang Rape And Sexual Violence Against Women

gang rape

I just received the extremely distressing news that the innocent 23-year-old woman, who was brutally gang-raped and then further horrifically abused, both sexually and physically with an iron rod, in New Delhi, has passed away in the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. The fact that she even survived this long is a miracle, considering that she was suffering from severe organ (intestinal) failure, followed by very serious injuries to her brain and body. And, although, she is finally at peace despite the unnecessary and undeserved suffering and trauma she’d endured for almost two weeks, my heart bleeds for her; it truly and achingly bleeds for her.

This nightmare all started on the cursed night of December 16, 2012, when the 23-year-old woman and her friend were on their way home, after a night out at the movies. Little did the couple realize that the bus they were about to board was filled with a bunch of despicable, heartless “joy-riders,” whose idea of fun was to brutally rape the poor woman, as well as beat up the man, who was with her, for several hours, leaving them both severely injured, to the point of hospitalization, and naked on the side of the road. And while it was reported that the male friend survived and was shortly released from the hospital, it was the woman who’d received the most severe blow, thus resulting in her untimely demise.

As much as I am utterly outraged and deeply disturbed by this incident, it is important to note that this incident is surely not an isolated one, for it happens with frightening regularity in this country (as well as the surrounding countries within Central and South Asia). Another similar incident included the gang-rape of a 17-year-old girl (also in New Delhi), that also took place on a bus, where the girl ended up committing suicide, by swallowing poison, a month later. Many women, hence, suffer silently when they are either gang-raped or have suffered some sort of sexual violence; and many are reluctant to report the attacks to the police, either out of fear, embarrassment, or guilt. As a result, some end up committing suicide, while others become secluded, further drowning themselves in guilt and shame.

There is no doubt that sexual violence against women and girls is an issue of pandemic proportions. Based on the statistics from UNIFEM, up to 70 percent of women experience physical or sexual abuse from men in their lifetime – the majority being from their husbands, intimate partners, or someone they know. Further, among women aged 15–44, UNIFEM also states that acts of violence cause more death and disability than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, and war combined! Perhaps the most pervasive human rights violation that we know of today is that sexual violence against women devastates lives, fractures communities, and hinders development. There is no doubt that it takes on many forms and occurs in many places (as it is never limited to only one country or region); these include domestic violence in the home, sexual abuse of girls in schools, sexual harassment at work, rape by husbands or strangers, etc.

As I’ve already mentioned before, sexual violence, especially against women and girls (for I am sure men suffer from sexual violence as well, but probably not in such a grand scale as women), occurs quite regularly; it is not just limited to India, but rather it occurs everywhere, all over the world. Yet, when it comes to countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, etc. the most distressing fact is that not all incidents are reported in the media; as a matter of fact, most are never reported and probably even disregarded, while these rapist criminals and sex fiends continue to roam free, seeking and terrorizing their next female victim.

Nevertheless, I was very happy to learn about the public’s instant outcry against the rapists, who brutally gang-raped the two women, by taking to the streets and protesting, not only in New Delhi, but all across the country; expressing their rage and demanding justice. Though, the fight for justice was not only limited to incidents such as the Delhi bus case, but to the epidemic of sexual violence that has threatened, and is continuing to threaten, everyone in the country.

The public also held their stance that the State execute the death penalty, for simply throwing the culprits in jail, for committing such a heinous crime, would be too easy a punishment. Here, I would say that I agree with the public and would also add that even though I initially had mixed feelings about capital punishment, in this case, I support it wholeheartedly. And, though I realize that no form of punishment will ever justify the deaths of those two innocent women (and the so many more who have suffered and/or died in rape incidents that have gone unreported), I still feel that India should impose the death penalty on those six rapists, so that they may never harm or lay their filthy hands on an innocent woman in this way again! At times, it is eminent to instil fear in these despicably heartless men who intend to get involved in such atrocities, because if not, then chances are that they will keep doing it as long as they can get away with it. And most usually do, which is why it keeps happening, over and over again.

However, at the same time, I also wonder how effective the death penalty would be if it were to be implemented. Would it necessarily stop these men from continuing to rape innocent women and girls? What is the point of a death penalty when authorities allow such men to run scott free? Perhaps, what is more important is changing men’s vile perceptions and attitudes towards women, and make them recognize that the woman, who was cruelly gang-raped, could have been someone’s mother, wife, daughter, or sister. And, though I support the death penalty (only in this case), I personally believe that the most important deterrent is the certainty of punishment – the notion that if a ruthless crime is committed, the authorities will do everything in their power to catch the culprits and ensure that justice is served to those victims who suffered in their hands.

Women deserve freedom; they deserve to stop living in fear! And that will only occur if the authorities and government ensures their safety by not only protecting them physically, but by catching and punishing every single culprit that causes any form of physical, sexual, or emotional harm. It is the only way to teach these culprits a lesson, for rape and sexual violence is a sort of uncanny pandemic that would be  impossible to eradicate overnight. But, it can be lessoned over time, as more light is shed on the issue; for it is not the problem of simply one or two women, but millions and millions of women (and men) all over the world.

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3 responses to “On The Delhi Gang Rape And Sexual Violence Against Women

  1. Great post! I wrote a similar post (http://www.thepeach.com.au/indian-citizens-say-rapists-should-be-chemically-castrated-or-hung-but-will-fear-and-violent-punishments-change-the-way-society-views-women/) While I can see why people want to impose the death penalty a part of me feels that violent punishments won’t cure the nation’s gender inequality or reduce crime. Instead, I believe a multi-pronged approach needs to be taken. This approach needs to tackle the weakened and corrupted political and legal system, as well as addressing the social endorsement of male aggression and the outdated patriarchal social system that places higher value on males while punishing the victim instead of the violator. What do you think about the government publicly shaming rapists? Will it change anything?

  2. Pingback: Goodbye 2012: Some Thoughts And Reflections « SesapZai – Artist. Academic. Philanthropist.·

  3. Pingback: Hang the Rapist: Why the Rapist Should not be Hanged?·

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