I’ve been following this story closely since the barbaric act actually occurred on 16 Dec 2012 and the more I read, saw or listened to about the case of the Delhi Gang Rape, I couldn’t quite understand how to feel. Was I supposed to feel hatred toward the perpetrators who were responsible for the heinous crime? Who felt that they had the right to completely disregard any ounce of respect or humanity to this woman and toss her body like a rag doll, on the streets of Delhi after having had their way with her, her naked wounds for all to see? Was I to feel some sympathy for a woman who I didn’t know, had never met or had never heard about before? Was I supposed to feel anger at reading or the reporting of yet another rape statistic being added to the national database? Was I supposed to feel disappointed in the sorry state of the social issues and affairs that the country faces that led to this crime? Lastly, was I supposed to feel anything at all for a stranger, a mere statistic amongst the hundreds, thousands and millions of cases that we hear about time after time after time…. Actually, I went through and felt all these emotions and much more, ultimately leading to a great sense of fear and a greater sense of helplessness when I switched on the news this morning and discovered that her fight for life came to a tragic end. My eyes were not dry!
Furthermore this week, I watched another case of a 17 year old girl in Patiala India, who committed suicide after having been gang raped recently and watched the turmoil that her family were left to deal with after she decided to give up on her life. The reason being that she couldn’t deal with the humiliation of having to mentally relive the act of her violent attack when she asked for help and support from the relevant authorities to bring her some justice. When the questions got too nasty, too invasive, almost voyeuristic to some degree, she decided that the best way out was to end it all. Another senseless and pointless death.
In fact, while writing this very blog, I am now reading yet another article of a man who on 27 Dec, right after the Delhi gang rape incidence, abducted a minor while his wife was away, and raped her for eight days before she was able to escape. For goodness sake has morality taken a flying leap out of the window?
What is this saying about the society that these women are living in? The Delhi gang rape was undoubtedly an atrocious act of violence that can not and should not be forgotten or forgiven. However it is one case amongst thousands of cases that are perhaps being missed, ignored, brushed under the carpet or are waiting for some justice in the courts of law.
Do we actually believe in a cold hard fact now? That after years of evolution, years of fighting for the power of women’s rights and centuries of beliefs that we offer prayers and religious beliefs in the goddesses that are admired in our religions, society continues to disregard every ounce of respect and high regard for the woman of its country? And why only India? Looking at rape statistics over the world, it’s a crime that continues to slap us women across our faces and shake us by the shoulders, shouting at us that this heinous act of crime was present, is present and will continue to be present in years and generations to come!
For me, a single fact rings true time and time again. And this is a lesson that needs to be taught as a lesson to every male being from the time they are able to understand these facts. Three simple words that should be branded and etched in their minds. There is a line that cannot be crossed and when any individual, be it a man or woman, says no, then it needs to be understood, NO MEANS NO!!! Taking a step beyond thereafter, in any situation, should simply be regarded as a crime. Be it for a child, an adult, a single person or a woman in a marital relationship, as marital rape is equally an ongoing problem in India and worldwide.
Are we regressing back to the dark old times when we taught our daughters that their worth is not something of importance and that they are just a shadow of their characters under the firm grips of their male counterparts? Are women never going to know the feeling of walking, working, growing up in a society where they are not regarded as an object to be ogled, to be stared at, to be harassed, to be a mere source of sexual power, to be used and disregarded as though that is what she is destined to be?
What really infuriates me more than anything at this point is to consider what may have happened if this poor 23 year old student / victim had survived and had been named nationally. Would she have tried to carry on living a normal life? Would she have been able to be given that opportunity at all? Would the society of a country that thinks it’s always the woman’s fault, allowed to have let her live in peace? Would she not have been taunted at some point in her life or would her family have been left to get on in their community with people to support them to get over the tribulations of the aftermath of this destruction? It’s with a heavy heart that I think that she may have died over again and again on a daily basis with humiliation that would have attacked her. The pointing fingers from peers, the sidelong glances the whispers that would have surrounded her and her family would probably have driven her to her deathbed anyway. So what can we think of such a society where instead of supporting our women who have been wronged, we hang their dirty laundry and gossip about their painful scars, deepening their wounds further?
When a woman or a man is raped, it’s not just that one time that the incidence occurs. It’s an act that they live out when they sit at the dining table with their family forcing a smile through their tears. It’s an act of violence that follows them to their work, to their school, to their bed and right through their dreams or nightmares. It never stops for its not rape of the body but rape of the mind, the heart and the soul. And who gives any human the right to enact that suffering on another for their selfish pleasures, however warped they may be?
I asked my husband a simple question today. When was the last time he had heard or seen or read an article about any animal in the wildlife doing something remotely similar to what had happened to this 23 year old? Had he ever heard about a tiger going out and raping another tiger or a deer brutally kidnapping, conspiring, beating and raping or abusing another deer? He couldn’t answer as he hadn’t heard of any such fact. So is this telling us that our society is actually a level lower than the animal kingdom? Wow, what a way to progress!!!
When society starts to try and teach its men that they are not the ultimate power and that they do not have the rights to walk around and do exactly as they please without facing the consequences, then there may be some reform. When mothers start to teach their boys about boundaries, about the way a woman should be respected and to learn to maintain self-control, then there will be reform. When schools start to teach their students that no means no every time there will be reform. When the media stops showing women as sex objects and allowing them to be an irresponsible source of male fantasies, then there will be reform. When the law works in the favour of the victim and names and shames the perpetrator there will be reform. Until then, we are just going to have to carry on fighting and working to find ways to avoid evil deeds such as that suffered by the 23 year old daughter, sister, student and basically, helpless human being at the hands of 6 mentally defiled, sex starved, nasty verminous products of our society! And that is the saddest fact of all!