About That Gang Rape Of A Woman On A Bus In New Delhi. And The Need For India To Start Living In The Real World
Sandi Burn writes from New Delhi: And all of sudden you start looking at India in a different light altogether, after that vicious gang rape of a 23-year-old medical student on a bus in the capital last December and the stats reflecting sexual abuse of women across the country that surfaced afterwards. A woman is raped in India every 20 minutes, we learn. Men generally look at women as fair game, we are told. So how about all those stories we’ve been hearing about the Indian people being kind and tolerant and even more intelligent than Europeans?
The rape of that poor woman sparked nationwide demonstrations in India with protesters calling on the government and the police to do something about the savage treatment of women in this supposedly biggest democracy in the world. (What democracy? A country where women are treated as third-rate citizens and millions of children are sold into slavery by their parents or guardians is a savage place that should be closed down really.)
So what are the Indian police doing about the widespread sexual abuse of women? Well, the cops here are more preoccupied these days with guarding the servants of the people, officials on all levels that is, and fighting terrorism. Protection of individuals comes way down the list of their priorities. Plus there’s corruption, of course, that makes it so much easier for rapists and other criminals to escape justice. Why is it, I always wonder, that corruption in India somehow gets unnoticed by Western hacks who are so keen to look for it, say, in Russia?
The Indian government wants to give the impression that crime is declining in the country. So the police have an interest in recording as little crime as possible. Rape is not taken seriously. The woman is often regarded as having provoked the rape by wearing a skirt or some revealing clothing. When a rape case is registered, the Indian legal system swings into action. But its wheels grind very slowly. It can take years for a case to be resolved. Many cases are forgotten and the victim is left without legal recourse. There is also the stigma of being a rape victim. The family is keen to play it down or have it swept under the carpet.
Another factor is that girls are regarded as the property of their fathers until they marry. They then become the property of their husbands. Hence many young males feel that they can molest or rape women with impunity. This feeling is strengthened by the breakdown of the community justice system in India. Those who have the resources hire smart lawyers and use the loopholes of the law to secure an acquittal. It is not difficult to see why young men believe they can treat every female as a potential mistress. Another point is that the bus on which the young woman was gang-raped had dark glass windows. This is illegal according to a judgement of the Supreme Court of India. So why are there New Delhi buses with dark glass windows still circulating? This underlines the stark fact that many laws in India are simply ignored and the state does nothing to enforce them.
So what is the solution? India has to stop playing a game with democracy and start introducing reforms. Women have to be treated with respect. They need to feel protected when walking the streets or boarding a bus. But while everyone pretends that rape is just a tragic occurrence in the otherwise happy society nothing will change. Just as nothing will change for the plight of hundreds of millions of people living in poverty until the government pretends that the country is going through an economic boom, with the vast majority benefiting from it.
Time for India to start living in the real world.