Mother, I want to live: Delhi gangrape victim
The super swank Delhi, Capital city where the country’s political, intellectual and feudal elite converge, is shocking in its rape records. It has the highest incidence of rape among the cities in the country and the numbers are rising by the year.
On an average, two women get raped every weekday. The city’s rapists, ranging from lumpen bus drivers to spoilt brats, don’t spare anybody: diplomats, tourists, school girls, migrant labourers and even infants.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau figures, which document only cases registered with the police, the national capital had 453 cases of rape in 2011. Mumbai, the city with the next highest incidence, had only half this number.
If one takes into account the rapes that go unreported – at homes, workplaces and everywhere else – the numbers could be shamefully staggering. It is a known fact, not just in India , but across the world, that rape is the most under-reported crime.
It took the Delhi Police less than 24 hours to track down the main accused in the horrific gang-rape and torture of a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi on Sunday evening. Three men have been arrested and three others have been detained.
Six men repeatedly raped the woman in a moving bus, beat her brutally with an iron rod, beat a male friend who had boarded the bus with her and then threw the two out of the bus, stripped of much of their clothing, on a flyover. They were found unconscious there and were taken to hospital, where the woman has undergone multiple surgeries and is now on ventilator support with what doctors have described as "irreparable damage" to her abdomen and intestines.
Even as Delhi's 23-year-old gangrape victim's condition deteriorated, she has shown immense spirit to live.
According to television reports, in a written communication to her mother, the girl has said: "Maa, main jeena chahti hoon" (Mother, I want to live) http://www.mid-day.com/news/2012/dec/191212-Mother-I-want-to-live-Delhi-...
It’s not surprising that even with all the resources of a capital city, Delhi hasn’t been able to do anything, at least partially, to wash off its rape-taint. Instead, the numbers are increasing and the rapists are getting bolder.
Our laws do tell them, but they don’t work. Beating them up or sending them to jail don’t work either because more than the desire of testosterone, it is the cultural ideas or social norms that they have grown up with, which drive them. Our culture should ask them to stop. Or we have to change our culture.
Where do we start?
We have to start with our men – in politics, in popular culture, in community and at home. There is an increasing acknowledgement of the role of men and boys in reducing violence against men. Studies show that boys who grow up watching gender-based violence, whether at home or in society, tend to be violent against women.
The men who exercise dominance over women, whether in parliament, khap panchayats, public places or in movies, set the norms for other men to exercise power in a similar way. Kids who grow up watching this tend to be like them.
These role-models have a pathological problem, whether they are our politicians or film-stars.
It has to change.
Next time, when India’s criminal-politicians block the move to reserve 30 per seats in Parliament for women, don’t forget they are indirectly fostering violence against women.
Understanding why such violence is happening is not to excuse the perpetrators. The aim is only to eliminate the causes of these crimes. Our past may damage us, but it does not let us off the moral hook.
The world has changed again, bringing more complex problems to the forefront to be solved, but because of the internet there are also more voices to join the conversation who add their ideas for solutions. Even the most marginalized in society, poor, indigenous women are fighting for their rights.
I refuse to take violent acts as normal. I do not want to be desensitized towards all the manifestations of violence. I want every heart with a burning fire in it to raise the voice against this brutality. Each time a voice is registered i believe there will be a change.