ADELE BUTLER – Women of Spirit: New Delhi in Rape Crisis

 

 

The Women of New Dehli are in crisis;  

and the Women of our World are Taking Action!

 

 

Imagine being raped because you are a working woman.

Hard to believe but this is the nightmarish reality women in New Delhi face.
 

 I first read about this on the Care2 Make a Difference site.

The New York Times reported that a couple was accosted by five drunken young men from a nearby farming village accosted a couple last month. They beat the young man and gang-raped the woman. It was the latest in a series of brutal sexual assaults and gang rapes of women in India’s booming capital and its sprawling suburbs.

In each case there has been an explosive clash between the rapidly modernizing city and the embattled, conservative village culture upon which the capital increasingly encroaches. The victims are almost invariably young, educated working women who are enjoying freedom unknown even a decade ago.

The accused are almost always young high school dropouts from surrounding villages, where women who work outside the home are often seen as lacking in virtue and therefore deserving of harassment and even rape.The mother of two of the men who attacked the couple, had the audacity to blame the woman. 

“If these girls roam around openly like this, then the boys will make mistakes.”

The woman was not roaming around openly.She was with her boyfriend.

And since when are gang rapes classified as “mistakes”?

This is the kind of attitude that has made New Delhi India’s most dangerous large city for women. The rate of reported rape is nearly triple that of Mumbai, and 10 times as high as Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, according to government records. A survey completed last year by the government and several women’s rights groups found that 80 percent of women had faced verbal harassment in Delhi and that almost a third had been physically harassed by men.

Nearly half the women surveyed reported being stalked, a statistic grimly illustrated earlier this month when a student at Delhi University was shot in broad daylight by a man the police suspect was stalking her.The attackers often do not see their actions as crimes, the police said, and do not expect the women they attack to report them. “They have no doubt that they will get away with it,” said H. G. S. Dhaliwal, a deputy police commissioner in New Delhi who has investigated several such cases.

If people continue to call these heinous actions “mistakes” men will continue to stalk and attack women. Granted, the rate of these violent crimes against women have dropped in the past four years, thanks to the police’s efforts and measures taken to ensure the safety of women such as train cars for women only and companies driving women home from late shifts. However, many crimes that go unreported. It’s a case of the old culture clashing with the new. New Delhi is behind the times. Men are not used to seeing women out in the workforce. “There is a lot of tension between the people who are traditional in their mind-set and the city that is changing so quickly,” said Ranjana Kumari, a leading women’s rights advocate.

“Men are not used to seeing so many women in the country occupying public spaces”

Imagine not being able to pursue a career after you have graduated from high school. This was the case for 20 year old Seema Chowdhury, the sister of one of the accused men. After Seema graduated from high school she tried to enroll in college to become a teacher but her brothers refused to allow it. They argued that young women who wander too far face many dangers. Seema was disheartened. “I wanted to do something in my life,” she said. “But they thought it was not a good idea.”

Unlike Seema, the young rape victim was a career woman. She had a job as an accountant at a garment factory and her own cell phone and e-mail account. According to the police, she used these to carry on a secret romance with a young man she met online despite the fact that her parents had arranged for her to be married to someone else. The young man whom she arranged to meet in the secluded spot next to a field of wheat had a good paying job too and lived in a good neighborhood unlike the attackers who lived in a run down area and had not finished high school. The men thought they would get away with the attack because the young woman would not come forward out of shame.

Unfortunately, the rape charges did not stick because the victim refused to come forward. Even though the police promised to protect her, she said in an email that they could not restore her honor. Her father tried to persuade her to come forward but the police had to stop pressuring her to cooperate when she tried to hang herself.

Unlike this victim who didn’t come forward to press charges against her attackers, another young woman who was abducted and gang raped was eager to cooperate with the police and as a result five men were arrested and charged. Mr. Dhaliwal, the senior Delhi police official who investigated that rape case, estimated that only one in 10 rapes in the Delhi region were reported.”But this girl was very brave,” Mr. Dhaliwal said.

“It is a very difficult thing in the Indian context, but you have to report it”

This brave young woman was a working woman. It is a sad state of affairs when women are prevented from pursuing careers because the old India refuses to keep up with the times. According to the old mentality, women are not supposed to be educated or a part of the workforce. They are not supposed to be enjoying the freedom and independence that comes with working for a living. The old India wants to keep on oppressing women and stifling their aspirations.

Women like Seema have the right to pursue their dreams. It’s time for the old India to give way to the new one and realize that women can make valuable contributions to their societies. A woman should not be harassed, stalked or raped because she wants to make a living.

Adele Butler, A Celebration of Women 2011       

 

 It’s time to Take Action.

 It’s time to stand up for the women of New Delhi.

 They are in a rape crisis.

 
india women 2012Indian women protest outside police headquarters in New Delhi on Dec. 19, 2012. The hours-long gang rape and near fatal beating of a student on a bus in New Delhi triggered outrage and anger across the country

Sunday, December 11, 2012 in New Delhi, at around 9.30 p.m., a 23-year-old woman was ‘gang raped’ for almost an hour on a moving bus and then thrown semi-naked on the road to die. Hideous violence against women is nothing new in India, but this particular outrage has caused widespread anger. Perhaps it was the casual ferocity of it. Or the fact that it took place on some of the teeming capital’s busiest streets. Or perhaps a nation at great pains to modernize is finding it hard to stomach what feels like an increasingly predatory sexual culture.

The rape sparked protests in the capital and outrage in Parliament, with several politicians demanding capital punishment for the perpetrators. The police have arrested four of the accused, and the trial, Indian Home Minister Sushil Shinde said, will be fast-tracked. “The incident has raised the issue of declining public confidence in the law and order machinery in the city,” a National Human Rights Commission statement said, “… Especially, in its capacity to ensure safety of women as a number of such incidents have been reported in the national capital in the recent past.”

Indeed, the rape of the 23-year-old — now fighting for her life with grievous injuries not only to her genitals but her intestines — is just another horror in a grim litany of Indian sexual violence. There were 17 cases of rape reported in the state of Haryana, which borders much of Delhi, in October alone. Across the nation, a woman is raped every 20 minutes, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. These frightening figures have risen steadily in recent years: in 2010, 24,206 rapes were reported, an almost 10% increase over 2001. The number of unreported rapes is without a doubt greater. PHOTOS – READ MORE

 

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