After years of sacrifice by her family so she & her brother could be educated, this still nameless young woman had come to the big city of New Delhi to follow her dream of studying to be a doctor. She was engaged to be married, and her fiance & she had gone out for the evening and were heading home by public transport, as thousands do every day in India.
But this bus was different. Several drunken men were already on board and decided to have a little fun. They came prepared, it seems, having brought with them an iron rod. They beat the young woman’s fiance and then, for several hours on the still moving bus (one has to wonder about the driver in all of this) they took turns raping her, including the use of the iron rod, severely damaging most of her internal organs. At the end of their fun evening, the men stripped both the young woman and her fiance of their clothing and dumped them at the side of the road, probably laughing as the bus drove away.
For two longs weeks this 23 year old beloved daughter/sister/fiancee battled for life, her injuries being so severe that she was air-flighted to a hospital in Singapore that specializes in the transplanting of multiple organs, but she was too brutally injured to recover. A lovely young woman, whose dream it was to be a good doctor and help the women and children in her country, was dead.
Because of, and only because of, the enormous public outcry from within India and around the world, the Indian government has decided to outlaw rape. Yup, you heard that right. Up until this point, rape has not been considered a crime. In fact, India’s Law & Justice minister was quoted as saying:
“It’s such a terrible tragedy when a small nuisance like rape turns into to something tragic like murder,” Kumar says. “Yes, the government has known that rape is a problem in society. But we always thought of it as akin to smoking: something to be frowned upon, but not criminalized or prosecuted.
“Now we have this horrible event which reminds us that sometimes rape can have negative consequences.”
If the atrocity of rape is only now being considered a crime, it will be light years before domestic abuse will ever be taken seriously in India. I can only imagine being Kumar’s wife, after he was quoted as further saying:
“We’ve neglected the issue of sexual violence in our society because frankly I think who someone is sleeping with should be a private affair. If the government goes around telling rapists who they can and can’t have sex with, what is next? Are they going to tell me which of my wife’s orifices I should use?
And then, to finish off his eloquent speech, he says: “It”s a slippery slope and one I wish I didn’t have to face. But if rapists can’t behave responsibly we’re left with no choice but to ban rape altogether.”
Remember our sisters in India today, and pray for a family as they grieve the loss of their precious daughter. No word to date on her still nameless fiance, as his body & mind begin their long journey of healing.
Photo courtesy of the Heifer Project International, a wonderful organization that supports the education and safety of Indian women. They welcome your donations.