I have longed for thy salvation, O L-RD; and thy Torah is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments. Psalm 119:174-176

21 December 2012

The girl effect, part 22 - Rape Culture: India

image found via Indian Newspapers

Tonight, I am shocked again to read the news and find out that due to horrible attitudes associated with rape culture (now something often referenced in my blog), that a woman was horribly raped and abused in India and is in critical condition. I can only ask that you read this and pray not only for her, but her companion and all those involved in this case. I have no good words or feelings for anyone who would do something so dastardly and demonic to another human being.

A brutal rape has shocked the Indian public. A young woman is in a critical condition in hospital after being assaulted by six men in a bus in the capital New Delhi.
The 23-year-old medical student was going home after going to the cinema in the south of the capital. She and her companion decided spontaneously to take a private bus instead of public transport...
There were four men in the bus already - they were drunk. They beat up the man with an iron rod and pulled the woman to the back where they beat and abused her for 40 minutes. The two were then thrown out of the bus and are now in a critical condition in hospital.
 Deutsche Welle, Rape case triggers outrage in India

I want to cry, I feel sick, utterly sick that anyone would ever consider the fact that a woman is out, not dressed "traditionally" or within her culture, and has shifted away from patriarchy is now "up for grabs". Apparently I'm not the only one as  Sunanda Mukherjee told Deutsche Welle:
"Why shouldn't women go out at night?" she asks. "Why should I not show my body as a woman? Why am I not seen as a person and respected? Are we still living in the wilderness?"(from the above Deutsche Welle article)
Home Secretary R.K. Singh told reporters Friday. “This is an incident which has shocked all of us,”
The Star - Gang-rape of student on bus in India sparks new security measures

Adding fuel to the fire, Commissioner KP Raghuvanshi, head of police in Thane, a satellite city of Mumbai advised women to avoid rape by "not travelling after dark and carrying chilli powder to throw at potential attackers."

The Sydney Morning Herald goes on and says that the couple were laying by the side of the road for an hour before authorities were called:
 The victim of the assault remains critically ill. It has also emerged that she and her male friend lay naked and covered in blood for nearly an hour at the roadside where they had been dumped before police arrived. A crowd of about 50 people had gathered around them, officials later said, but no one offered any assistance. Police eventually had to fetch sheets from a nearby hotel to cover them.
Sydney Morning Herald - Police comments fuel India's rape fury

This gem comes from CNN:
"I can speak about my own experience, as a student, in this city -- people are pinching you, touching you, someone is coming close to you. This is absolutely the mentality where you look at a woman as an object of sex and (which) you use and abuse," rights activist Ranjana Kumari said.
CNN: New Delhi rape exposes the perils of being a woman in India
 As much as I hate to say I "love" a comment about the horrible state of rape culture in India, this comment from the Reuters article I read, says it quite well for the entire world and how women are often perceived:
"No amount of pepper spray, tazers or 'decent dressing' will protect women. I can't let my little girl grow up in a society where men pounce on and rape women," said Bharat Kapur, whose 5-year-old daughter clung to his leg as hundreds shouted with clenched fists at a protest in New Delhi.
Reuters, Public fury over New Delhi gang rape sparks protest across India
 This man gets it. Out of all my years in patriarchal church culture which tells you exactly the opposite, this gentleman in India totally understands what I have come to find out for myself by experience.
In response to widespread fear among women of sexual harassment, trains in Mumbai and Delhi run segregated women-only coaches.
India's top court directed all state governments last month to put female police officers in all public spaces including markets, parks, beaches and public transport.

...But activists say that many men see the trend as representing a threat to male dominance...
France 24, Rape outcry shines light on India's 'misogyny'

To tell you how bad the situation is in New Delhi, Reuters goes on to say this:
New Delhi, home to about 16 million people, has the highest number of sex crimes among India's mega cities. Police figures show rape is reported on average every 18 hours and some other form of sexual attack every 14 hours in the capital.Reuters, Public fury over New Delhi gang rape sparks protest across India

The Telegraph UK had this news from officials after the people were upset and started mass demonstrations against this act.
Bus drivers in New Delhi will be required to display their identification prominently in the vehicles, buses are now required to remove tinting from their windows and plainclothes police are being placed on buses to protect female passengers, he said. In addition, chartered buses such as the one where the attack occurred will be impounded if they illegally ply for fares on the streets, he said.
Authorities are also cracking down on drunk driving and on loitering gangs of drunken youths, he added.
The Telegraph UK, India gang rape: Delhi police announce new measures to protect women
 The Telegraph also brings this to light:

At least 20 men accused of raping women ran in Indian elections in the last five years, according to a think-tank report published amid growing outrage over the gang-rape of a student on a bus.
The Telegraph UK

 Aljazeera has actually been following the different issues facing women in India in the last few months, and they had a very interesting take on the story.
New Delhi registered 572 rape cases last year - more than any of the other big cities in the country like Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore. Jagori, a women’s rights organisation, says the city leads the country in crimes against women - including rape, molestation, dowry harassment and domestic violence.
Even an Al Jazeera documentary a few months ago uncovered the ugly truth hidden behind Delhi’s glitzy exterior: some 80 percent of women in a city of 20 million complained of having been sexually harassed. Also, an astonishing four-fifths of all women said they feared for their safety on streets, especially at night.
Aljazeera - Bus attack highlights India's rape epidemic

First Post India has several interesting articles about the issue. (Photo Essay from First Post India here) Apparently Parliament will be meeting on December 27 about this issue. Here's a quote I found particularly dismaying. What is so upsetting about this, is that it is not particular to India alone. This is something ALL rape victims face in every country and across almost every culture:
“Victims, particularly adults, are told that if they speak about the crime, they will face social boycott. The result is that they don’t want to come into the picture and yet want the culprits to be punished. Some of them just take a U- turn and say there was no rape,” said Dorthy Kamal, rape counsellor with crisis intervention cell, a service for rape victims run by Delhi Commission for Women.
“We tell them that if they want action against the person, there is no way but to get involved in legal proceedings,” she said.
The only silver lining, said Kamal, is that more and more victims are speaking against atrocities.
 First Post - Guilt and shame: What Indian rape victims have to survive

 To make things worse, First Post brings this to light:
In Delhi’s six district courts, as many 963 cases of rape are pending as on 1 October. Should Sunday night’s gang rape case be admitted to one of these courts, it will be at least seven to eight months before the verdict is announced.
First Post - Nearly 1,000 rape cases await light of justice in Delhi’s courts

 According to The Times of India:

An online petition started by Anisha Chadha demanding death sentence for the victims is being circulated wherein 3,60,000 have already signed up for the cause. The petition is addressed to prime minister Manmohan Singh and home minister Sushilkumar Shinde. A recent update on the petition informs that a mail along with the appeal has been sent to the top government officials and that this effort would not be given up until something has been done. Another petition by Namita Bhandare too has seen support from the big-wigs such as Shashi Tharoor and Salim Merchant.
The Times of India - Delhi gang rape: Anguish, support pours in online

Pardon me while I go have a good cry and pray.

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