One has to wonder exactly what Commissioner KP Raghuvanshi — the asshole policeman in India who suggested women use chili powder to keep rapists away — must be thinking now that the rape victim that spawned such a bullshit comment has taken a turn for the worst. Or maybe he’s just not thinking anything at all?
The 23-year-old, whose name hasn’t been released, was gang raped on a bus in New Delhi two weeks ago and it took over an hour for her body to be discovered by police. This incident is just one of thousands that take place in India every year on a regular basis. In 1971 the number of reported rape cases was 2,487 and just last year that amount had jumped to 24,206 — and these are just the reported cases.
This most recent rape comes at the heels of another incident where an 18-year-old rape victim took her life after the police, who were supposed to protect her and investigate the assault, “harassed the girl, asked her embarrassing questions and took no action against the accused.” Unfortunately, this behavior is not unheard of when it comes to how police deal with rape victims in India, and due to this and pressure within the society, it keeps even more victims silent.
Although in both rape cases policemen have been fired, it doesn’t change the fact that rape is not considered a strong enough offense to be dealt with in a harsh manner in India.
As protests have erupted all over the country in outrage over the casual treatment of these cases, politicians have been insulting the protesters’ cause as well as belittling the crimes that have occurred. From lowly policemen all the way up to the highest ranking politicians, rape, apparently, is not an issue to be taken seriously. And why would it? It’s just the violation, humiliation, degradation of a woman. What could possibly be important about that? Why does the lesser gender deserve protection?
If the 23-year-old woman should die from her injuries as a result of this rape, “It could trigger fresh outrage over the case, which caught Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s government off-guard and triggered a blame game between politicians and the police,” according to Reuters. But then what? The damage has been done, a life — many lives have been lost and destroyed — and that’s what it took to reform laws to protect the innocent and punish the rapists? A gang-rape on a public, moving bus — that’s what it took?
As an American who lives in a country where rape is a serious offense, I can’t wrap my brain around any of this. As a woman who has never had to know the oppression that comes with societal and religious beliefs that see me as subhuman, I’m not qualified enough to even pretend to understand. But I can be outraged; we can, and we should, all be outraged.
Unfortunately protests can only do so much and outrage can only get us so far. Even if the demonstrations in India help in reforming laws, the opinion of women, in the minds of many in that country, remains in tact: worthless. But breaking news: women aren’t worthless; women are worth fighting for and protecting just like any other creature with a pulse.
Women are human.
Update: About 5pm EST, the Associated Press reported that the 23-year-old rape victim had died in the Singapore Hospital where she was being treated for her injuries.
Photo: Altaf Qadri, AP