February 9, 2013

It was an uncharacteristically cool morning in Chennai. I had a female friend by my side and we were enjoying a nice walk along the beautifully tiled pavement outside IIT Chennai. All of a sudden a guy walking in the opposite direction slammed into my friend. The impact was so violent that she lost her balance and fell on me and by the time we were back on our feet he was long gone.

What happened to the Delhi brave heart is similar to what happened to my friend. It was an unprovocated act of violence on a female. Rapes and violence against women have been such a common occurrence that it had got confined to just another news article for all of us. But something about the attack against Jyoti Singh Pandey hit a chord in all of us. Was it the brutal nature of the attack, the story of a girl from humble background with tremendous support from her parents and great will power striving for a better future or just the fact a young couple were brutally attacked after watching a movie, something all of us can relate to. I tend to believe the attack shows the collective failure of our society. If one of the several odd auto guys at saket mall had decided to drop the couple or If we had proper public transport systems at night or if the police had acted upon the complaint of the carpenter who was stolen of his money in the same bus or if the 31 police check posts that the bus passed had stopped the bus in time Jyoti Singh Pandey would have graduated, supported her parents and maybe even opened a medical clinic in her remote village. We as a society could not protect a 23 year old woman someone who deserved to live maybe than most of us someone who could have given so much to our country.

There is certainly something seriously wrong about how we see our women. Rape in itself is a heinous crime but what I couldn’t digest was just the monstrosity of the attacks. Leave alone men attacking a woman, how is it possible for a human being to behave this way to another human. From what I read, the doctors on duty that night at Safdarjung Hospital were just shocked at the amount of physical trauma inflicted on the girl .When admitted she was left with only 5% of her intestines and had massive internal injuries which led to the cardiac arrest and subsequent death. She was raped and tortured to death and what is the most disturbing is the youngest of the accused at 17 years was supposedly the cruelest. It is certainly our very low conviction rates in rape cases coupled with the confidence that they would never be caught that led these people to commit such a heinous crime.

The whole country came out in protests but do we really have the right to protest when we ourselves are to blame. The friend of victim says for near 20 mins when they were lying on the road naked, broken there was not a single one who came to their help. The auto guys, police, politicians the passersby everyone involved are people like us. There has been a sudden clamor for capital punishment for rape accused but if capital punishment was a deterrent then murders would have reduced long ago. The fact remains we are not able to protect our women. For the women reading this we are sorry, our country needs more you but we don’t have the spine to protect you. We as a country should never forget the brave heart who was being raped and tortured when the rest of us having a meal with our family and friends, enjoying a movie or just going about her life. She didn’t deserve it but we failed her.

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