While rapes and sexual violence is a part of daily life in our country and the sheer frequency of these incidents have desensitized us to a large extent, once in a while, there comes a case which shakes one’s belief in humanity, and makes one question just about everything.
On May 29, a young woman left her home with her infant daughter, after a fight with her husband. She took an auto rickshaw, which turned out to be her life’s biggest nightmare. The woman was gangraped for 4 hours by three men in the autorickshaw, who also threw her baby out. After they left her, she picked up her baby and went to a hospital in Gurugram, where she was told that her baby had died. In disbelief, she travelled by metro to a Delhi hospital, holding her dead child. On being told yet again that her baby was no more, she returned to Gurugram and filed an FIR. Currently, the sketches of the three perpetrators are doing the rounds.
Words fall short to explain the horror of this whole incident. It is not a case of violence against a woman, it is a reflection of the absolute degradation of society. It is a violence against a human being, the worst kind possible. It makes us wonder where we are lacking – is it the lack of sensitivity, is it a problem of legal frameworks, implementation of law, an absolute disregard for punishment…what is it which makes these incidents occur again and again? While we take a lot of pride in the work we do, cases like these make us question about the effectiveness of all that is being done to prevent violence against women. How do you ensure that such cases do NOT happen? And if and when they do, how do you make sure that the punishment befits the crime?
This case is a stark reminder of the dangers lurking above women in the country, every day. Whether in marketplaces, parks, schools and colleges, workplace, on public transport, in the homes, inside the womb – women seem to be unsafe and the target for violence in every possible place. This fact needs to be understood by every single member of the society, for change to truly take place. We have been providing counseling and rehabilitation services to rape survivors for over three decades now, and this is a key learning from our experiences.
Centre for Social Research extends its sympathies to the aggrieved party. We cannot take your pain away, but we can pledge that we will work harder for the cause of women, and a gender equal society.