Reports have poured in regarding the death of a 23 year-old female student from India who was raped on a bus in New Delhi. Thousands in India are also protesting. Six men were charged with the death of the 23 year-old student who died from her beatings while being raped. “New Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said the six face the death penalty if convicted, in a case that has triggered protests across India for greater protection for women from sexual violence and raised questions about lax attitudes by police toward sexual crimes.” These criminal acts will no longer be tolerated in India, nor should they be.
Protests should be triggered throughout the world in this particular case. It was such an atrocity that she was beaten and raped, but for six men to have caused her death is sickening. Her companion that she was with that night, had been released from the hospital, but the 23 year-old student continued in a desperate and brave effort to continue her fight for life. But despite her tremendous courage, she passed away peacefully Saturday at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.
It seems sickening and troubling, not to mention “just not right” about the fact that the Prime Minister did not know the extent of the emotional carnage this incident left in his country. He did assure the country that her death would not be in vain. “The death spurred an outpouring of sadness in social media, as well as calls for action to ensure her rapists are punished and that Indian society changes so that more women aren’t assaulted, harassed and otherwise mistreated because of their gender.”
She has been dubbed Damini. “‘Damini’ (is) just a name now,” famed Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan wrote on Twitter. “Her body has passed away, but her soul shall … forever stir our hearts !!!” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offered up his “deepest condolences” Saturday when he learned of the woman’s death, and stated that: “it is up to us all to ensure that her death will not have been in vain.”
The many mourners that turned out for this solemn occasion placed a wreath that was studded with white flowers on the road while lighting candles, in what was a silent tribute to this brave, young woman. A theater group used a tambourine while singing protest songs, urging Indians to arise and awaken in light of this tragedy; to end the predominant sexual harassment and violence that is perpetrated on young and innocent Indian woman on a daily basis.
Students of Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi marched silently to the bus stop where the rape victim and her friend had boarded the bus Dec. 16. They carried placards reading “She is not with us but her story must awaken us.” Nehra Kaul Mehra, a young Indian studying urban and gender policing at Colombia University in the U.S., said “We come from a feudal and patriarchal setup where we value men more than women.”
She also added, “We kill daughters before they are born. Those who live are fed less, educated less and segregated from boys,” she said with a black band of protest around her mouth. Sonia Gandhi, the governing Congress party chief, stated that this only “deepens our determination to battle the pervasive, the shameful social attitudes and mindset that allow men to rape and molest women and girls with such an impunity.”
As in many other countries, rape is considered something shameful, more shameful than the crime itself. When a woman is raped or sexually assaulted, she is the one that is looked at as suspicious, instead of the crime itself. She is the one that is doing the teasing and cajoling and provoking these hideous attacks, so she is told time and time again.
A young teenage girl committed suicide after the courts released her attacker in another part of India. Rather than be humiliated time and time again by knowing that the criminal was walking around free, without any placement of guilt or shame, she chose to end her life, because the guilt and shame would be placed upon her, for her to carry for generations to come.
“Indian attitudes toward rape are so entrenched that even politicians and opinion makers have often suggested that women should not go out at night or wear clothes that might be deemed provocative.” In Western society, this was an attitude that was evident in the early 70’s, but to have such an attitude in this time is despicable, especially when entertained by politicians and the Powers-That-Be. “On Friday, Abhijit Mukherjee, a national lawmaker and son of India’s president, apologized for calling the protesters “highly dented and painted” women who go from discos to demonstrations.” Imagine that? He offered an apology, “I tender my unconditional apology to all the people whose sentiments got hurt,” he told NDTV news. But such an apology offers no comfort, as the original statement held such contempt.
Shame should be only be placed upon these lawmakers that offer such cruel and insensitive statements upon women whose only crimes were to be female.