Delhi Gang Rape When we brutalise a woman, we brutalise society

February 24, 2013 | By More

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across India, calling on authorities to stem the rising tide
of violent sexual attacks on women, after a 23-year-old medical student was raped and beaten by six men on a
Delhi bus.

gang rapeOn 16 December 2012 a female physiotherapy intern was beaten and gang raped in Delhi. She died from her
injuries thirteen days later while undergoing emergency treatment in Singapore for brain and gastrointestinal
damage. After watching a film in South Delhi in the early evening, she and a male companion had boarded a bus,
which was being driven as an unauthorized “joyride”, thinking it was a public bus. The only other passengers on
the bus were five men who were friends of the driver.  All six, including the driver, were charged in connection
with the sexual assault and have been arrested.

After the attack, she was taken to Safdarjang Hospital, received multiple surgeries, and was placed on
mechanical ventilation. On 26 December, she was moved to Singapore for further treatment, where she died
on 29 December. The incident has generated international coverage and was condemned by the United Nations
Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, who called on the Government of India and the
Government of Delhi “to do everything in their power to take up radical reforms, ensure justice and reach out
with robust public services to make women’s lives more safe and secure”.[4] Public protests took place in Delhi,
where thousands of protesters clashed with security forces. Similar protests took place in major cities
throughout the country.

The men are accused of attacking the woman and a male friend after the pair boarded a private,unlicensed bus on their way home from watching a film in south Delhi. The men, on what Indian newspapers have described as a “joyride”, raped and tortured the woman and beat her friend with iron rods and other weapons, the police have said. They were stripped, robbed and dumped on the roadside near the city’s main airport.

“It is a huge social problem. Men are just taught to respect their elders, but not women,” Jason Temasfieldt

the dead man’s cousin, told the Guardian. Others say deep discrimination is to blame. In many parts of India, female
infants and foetuses have been routinely killed for decades, leading to a huge demographic imbalance and a
shortage of sexual partners for young men.

At the same time, education and economic change have meant new roles,
aspirations and independence for many women.

Most sex crimes in India go unreported, many offenders go unpunished, and the wheels of justice turn slowly,
according to social activists, who say that successive governments have done little to ensure the safety of women.

The outcry over the attack caught the government off guard. It took a week for the prime minister to make a
statement, infuriating many protesters. Last weekend they fought pitched battles with police.

Issues such as rape, dowry-related deaths and female infanticide rarely enter mainstream political discourse.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon added his voice to those demanding change, calling for “further steps and
reforms to deter such crimes and bring perpetrators to justice”.

Commentators and sociologists say the incident earlier this month has tapped into a deep well of frustration many
Indians feel over what they see as weak governance and poor leadership on social issues.

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