It is no secret that in recent times, regular headlines are focused on rape in India. There has been a sudden increase on press coverage regarding the vital issue of rape and violence against women in India. As much as this is a positive thing as it is raising awareness, the question is why now? Why is the issue of rape being brought to the platform now when it has been occurring for many years and spiralling out of control but has simply not received enough media coverage? Was it not an important issue before? The sudden increase of press coverage has come about after the tragic gang rape incident in Dehli in 2012 on Jyoti Singh Pandey. Jyoti was beaten and gang raped by 6 men on a private bus and thrown out in an attempt to run her over. She was hospitalised for three days and died as a result due to the severity of her injuries. The incident generated widespread and international coverage on the treatment and attitudes towards women. What is disappointing is that it takes a tragic and fatal case like this for society to finally stand up and say this is an issue and we must call for action. Was it not necessary to take action prior to 2012 for all the other innocent rape victims? Did they not deserve justice or protection? Although the case caused uproar in the community against rape and violence, the message was still not strong enough to perpetrators as rape incidents unfortunately continued.
March 2013 – Couple who were cycling were attacked by 8 men, tied up and gang raped the female victim in front of her husband.
August 2013 – 22 year old journalist was gang raped by 5 men including a juvenile in Mumbai while on an assignment
The more recent extremely upsetting case took place in May 2014 where two young girls aged 13 and 14 were gang raped and hanged from a tree. Three men had been arrested and confessed to the rape and murder of the girls. Two additional suspects who are police officers were under investigation for their suspected involvement in the crime. The list of cases can go on for pages but the common ground amongst these cases is that the demeaning act still occurs.
As much as the media and the Indian government try to persuade us that action is being taken to toughen the laws and attitudes towards rape and violence against women, it is still evident that there has been little change in ‘rape culture’ and men’s treatment towards women in India. Is the government to blame for this or the men in India? That is open for debate and depends on you. The issue of rape and violence against women has been a severe issue for many years and is an on-going issue. There is simply not enough media coverage to cover the severity of this and nor does it seem to be helping to tackle this issue. The biggest question yet is what action will possibly reduce or even eliminate the issue of rape and violence against women. Does such an act exist that can achieve this? Tougher laws? Death penalty? Challenging men’s views? Government to blame? This is a question I ask myself everyday as the experiences of innocent female victims of such tragic incidents affects me terribly. Young children and adults having their respect and dignity stripped away and losing their life at the hands of what can only be referred to as animals. Despite tragic cases being the headlines of every newspaper and news channel, it can still be said that there has been little change in rape culture, men’s treatment of women and brutality against women.
This is for those innocent victims in India whose name and story did not make it on the news. Those who did not receive justice or protection. Those who were just left as a file on a police officer’s desk amongst many other files. At least you are now safe in a better world than we are.