Rape – One Year Later.
A rape is reported every 21 minutes in India.
A crime that caught the attention of the entire world happened twelve months ago and nothing changed. Crimes keep happening more vile than the one before and nothing has changed. If statistics are correct then two rapes have been reported in the time it has taken me to write this post, and possibly more have occurred that will not be reported. Sexual crimes are still happening, and until India examines its attitudes to women and provides them the protection and support they so desperately need nothing will change.
During the protests that followed the Delhi gang rape India exploded with anger and cried for punishment. Four men were sentenced to death, one juvenile imprisoned and another perpetrator hung himself (or was murdered in his cell) yet reports of rape are still frequent and increasingly brutal.
Although stricter laws have been passed enforcing them in a widely corrupted police force with a broken criminal justice system still remains a problem. Yes a death sentence was reached, but not more has been done thereafter. Despite making promises at the time, it is now all too apparent that India bowed to international pressure in order to maintain an image of ‘democracy’ that they are so desperately trying to present to the rest of the world.
The root of the issue in India is that there has been no real change in conscious and it is unlikely that there will be one soon. The view of women in Indian society is still and always has been one of inferiority. In a country where female infanticide is accepted and even encouraged how can men respect women when Indian society itself cannot? How can females be accepted in a society when so many of them are not even given a chance to be born but instead aborted?
Despite such a high publicity case attitudes have not yet changed to victims, and I doubt within certain parts of India that they will ever change. A male’s sexual desire is never to blame, nor is his twisted notion of control but instead blame is shifted on to the victim for provoking her attacker. With the widespread acceptance that blame will fall on to the victim what real deterrent do rapists in India have not to carry out these abhorrent acts? In a culture where sexual purity is all that a female can offer – the notion of keeping her honour has already allowed her to become vulnerable. Quite simply, men rape females in India because the dominant discourse of victim blaming and the shame attached to female sexuality or females engaging in sexual activities allows them to.
Having spent time in India over the course of my life it is simply accepted that to be a woman in India means you are never safe. We are not to venture out alone, or wear what is deemed to be ‘revealing’ clothing or take public transport at night because if something were to happen you then you only have yourself are to blame. Women are taught to live in shadows, yet even now male attitudes to sexual violence have not been directly challenged. Where is the logic in that?
As a young child aged no more than eight years old although I was too young to understand I learnt something about what it means to be a female in India. I spent time at my grandparents home often playing in the fields that were full of hired workers during the busy harvest season. One day the daughter of a neighbour the same age as me was discovered covered in blood as a result of a sexual assault or possible rape carried out by one of the hired workers. Nothing was reported; nobody explained to this child what had happened and the perpetrator disappeared. I remember seeing her mother in despair discussing with other women how to keep this a secret so her daughter’s chance of marriage would not be ruined. When women themselves have been brain washed into feeling ashamed of a crime against their own body then how can society in India possibly change? Needless to say I was never allowed in the fields ever again.
Until next time…x