Just another rape in India. Are we becoming numb?
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)
A grim parlour game sometimes comes to mind when I read the latest story about someone raping a woman or a child in India. Is this the one that’s going to change everything? Is this the one that’s going to keep me up for days contributing to the news media’s coverage? Or is this just another rape?
There is no such thing as “just another rape” for a victim. Beyond the sexual violation, there is the torture. The physiotherapy student who was raped on a bus in New Delhi last December died as the result of injuries sustained by being penetrated with an iron rod. Everybody knows this, and everybody got angry, but anger runs out.
Between then and now, there have been many reports in the press about rape incidents. Which one was going to be the big one? It was that of a five-year-old girl in east Delhi. A neighbour kidnapped her, raped her and tried to kill her. Then the police tried to bribe the parents 2,000 rupees (about $37) to not talk about the case.
Apart from the bruises around her neck, face and chest, doctors removed a bottle and a candle from her body. From CNN-IBN: “Panic gripped the two accused when the five-year-old girl started bleeding after they raped her, and one of them inserted a small glass bottle and bits of candle into her vagina to stem the flow of blood, police said on Tuesday. One of the accused, Manoj Kumar, 22, allegedly tried to slit her throat with a blade, a police officer told IANS.”
Since then, there have been more:
Six-year-old girl assaulted in Delhi: Police official Ajay Chaudhry said: “There is a slum colony where a small child had gone to use the public toilet, she was assaulted there.”
Five-year-old girl raped and killed in Ranchi, suspect Mohd Saddam arrested: “Police said after she was last seen with Saddam on Wednesday afternoon, the girl, a student of Class I, had gone missing. Parents of the girl had recovered her strangulated body, after 14 hours of manhunt, from near the house. The private parts of the girl were injured and bleeding. Later post-mortem reports confirmed rape.”
Ten-year-old girl raped, then locked in jail: “Two women constables have been suspended while two sub-Inspectors including the station-in-charge have been sent to police lines following the incident, SSP Gulab Singh said. The victim spent several hours behind the bars after her mother brought her to a women’s police station to lodge a complaint against a local goon for allegedly raping her. She was rescued only after locals protested over the matter. According to Singh, the minor from Meerpur village here was found lying unconscious in a field by her parents last night where she had been dumped after being allegedly raped.”
Hindustan Times wrote an article about a study by the Asian Centre for Human Rights. It said this: “48,338 child rape cases were recorded during 2001-11, which was an increase of 336% in such cases since 2001 when only 2,113 child rape cases were recorded. The number rose to 7,112 cases in 2011. With 9,465 cases, Madhya Pradesh was on the top of the child rape table, followed by Maharashtra (6,868) and Uttar Pradesh (5,949), while Daman and Diu (9), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (15) and Nagaland (38) reported the least number of child rape cases during 2001-11.”
“(But) does it reflect also in rape, and in the way rape is being conducted. Maybe. But too early to say there is a trend. Such cases are a minority amongst rape cases,” says Gupta, director of Recovering and Healing from Incest (RAHI).
“In order to call it a trend, you have to see a progression over the years and that data nobody has,” she added.
Regardless of the reason for the rise – more incidents or more reporting of incidents – what will push people to go beyond demanding change, and actually make it happen? What will it take to get them to be angry every time it happens instead of focusing on one here and one there and then losing interest because the day-to-day shopping needs doing? Will this outrageous brutality make a difference? Sometimes I wonder. Please let me know what you think.
If you are a resident of New Delhi, please also participate in our survey on women’s safety at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3M6SH55
(You can follow Anuja Jaiman on Twitter @AnujaJaiman)