Recently, news surfaced that broke the hearts of the world. An 8-month old baby girl in New Delhi, India, was brutally raped. She was left alone at home with her 28-year old cousin while her parents were at work, who proceeded to rape her. She is currently on life support and is struggling to live as her organs are failing due the suffered trauma. The man responsible has been arrested but has yet to be charged with a crime.
Honor Thy Sister, Mother, and Daughter
India has had a rather regressive attitude towards the women living in their country. This very attitude comes from a conservative culture that instills Indians at a very young age, that women carry a community’s honor, izzat, as they would say.
This applies to what women wear, how they behave, who they choose to sit with, and where they go. They are expected to dress in a “decent” manner, a standard which is decided by the man of the house, say a father or an older brother of the family. They see women as loose cannons and when a young girl is raped, through no fault of her own, the society of India almost always finds a reason to blame the girl. It is either “She should not be traveling alone so late at night” or “Did you see what she was wearing?”
Rape in India: Who Is at Fault?
Upon receiving the news of a crime such as a rape, society immediately starts wondering about the reasons for it. To this I ask, what was the baby girl who was raped wearing and where was she going at such an innocent age? Could it be that it was her fault, that she was raped? No. Questions like this start to sound superficial in cases like these, but we should remember that a victim is never at fault, it is always the attacker.
Rising Rape Culture in India
In India, rape culture prevails above all else. Rape has become so common, that the news of it hardly shakes anyone anymore. The reality is, there is no rhyme or reason why a particular victim was subject to rape, and it is all about the person responsible for committing the crime. Rapists rape, it’s what they are hardwired to do. Take the example of the 7-year-old Zainab from Kasur in Pakistan who was raped and murdered earlier in January. The man who raped her confessed to raping several other girls and admitted to being a sexual abuse victim in his own childhood.
Whatever the cause that drives a man to commit a crime as horrendous as rape, whether it is trauma or sexual abuse, there is absolutely no justification. Personally, what I believe is that a rapist must be convicted as soon as possible so that the society remains safe from him regardless of the country it happens in.
India Rape Statistics
In June of last year, Joanna Jolly, who is a Joan Shorenstein Fellow as well as a former BBC South Asia editor, deduced that India is suffering from increased rates of rape crime after the very infamous gang-rape crime where a young girl was gang raped and left to die in 2012.
The National Crime Records Bureau data collected from the year 2016 shows us that the rape cases in India have increased by a stark 82 percent when compared to the previous year. In the year 2016 alone, the country registered an estimate of 38,947 rape cases.
53.22 percent of young kids who were participants in a study conducted by the Indian government reported that they had been a part of some sort of sexual abuse. And it is a fact that 50 percent of the abusers that abuse a child are people who are in the position of trust and power, as was the case of this baby who was raped by her own cousin.
Rape: We Need to Change our Thinking!
Change doesn’t start big, it starts small and it starts with one person. If one person can change their mentality and stop justifying rape, then there is true hope for a society. Until we do that, we must do all in our power to protect our own against those who seek to do harm.
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