When I first wrote about the Delhi Rape case in January, I was preparing for an exam to get my temporary registration to move on to the big subjects as a medical student. I was extremely busy but even then took a day off to go stand on the front lines of protests around me with the idea of providing medical coverage. A few readers from Chennai “asked” me to come down and I went to see.
And a lot of it was watching the anger that people had at such a horrendous case. I repeat the TW.
Let’s recap here. The Delhi Rape Victim known to all as Nirbhaya (fearless) was picked up along with her boyfriend by a bus masquerading to be one for general use. Her boyfriend was severely beaten by a gang of six men before she was raped. She was raped and sodomised with foreign objects. She and her boyfriend were then stripped and thrown out of the bus and were then nearly run over. They then spent 45 minutes lying by the side of the road where no one would stop to assist two nude people. Finally when the police arrived they debated where to send her and rather than call an ambulance, forced the young man to pick her up to protect their own clothes. N died due to a rectal tear resulting in sepsis caused by transmission of faecal bacteria into her bloodstream. She died in route to Singapore from Delhi as the Delhi government tried to fortify itself behind the blame game for mishandling her treatment. The perpetrators were captured and undergoing trial but one of them committed suicide in prison. But in the aftermath a variety of people spoke out and said a variety of things ranging from “N didn’t pray enough” to “N got raped because she was out late” and “N got raped because she had a boyfriend” and “N should have dated a real man”. It wasn’t just men, women said stupid shit like this too. People blamed jeans, mobile phones, porn, western movies, chinese food and KFC rather than blaming the culture that spawned these rapists and the people who defended them.
And don’t look smug. Remember, MRAs from the west blamed her too. Most famously A Voice for Men and members of the Slymepit showed up to defend India by pointing out that women have it better than men because they have reserved seating, carriages and don’t have to pay for entry into nightclubs.
And we moved on. Until a few days ago. I stood on the news because I figured it wouldn’t get coverage.
A nepalese migrant worker was raped by three men and thrown from a vehicle. She is stable and in hospital but still unconscious. With her last effort she wrote what happened to her on the road with a piece of brick before unconsciousness took her. When discovered in the morning, a good samaritan carried her to hospital and called the police.
And I sat on that yesterday because the rape protests started up for an even more horrendous case. I know there is a problem in declaring one rape as worse than another but this one shocked Delhi and has stoked the anger that was demonstrated in the December and January riots.
On April the 15th a 5 year old girl went missing in East Delhi’s Gandhi Nagar. The girl’s father told reporters that he had earlier approached the police with a complaint that his daughter was missing, but they didn’t register the complaint. He was sent home. Two days later the now worried family heard screaming. They followed the noise and broke into the ground floor apartment where they stayed and found their 5 year old daughter.
She had been kept as a prisoner for two days without food or water by the attacker who is still on the run. The man (because it’s a man, not because India hates men or because of segregated seating on buses) had kidnapped her and raped her.
And the medical report is out. The 5 year old victim was physically raped and had a 200 ml bottle and three candles inserted into her both vaginally and rectally.
A word from medicine here. Generally when we talk about “rape” and young girls there is an issue of size. The vagina is not fully developed and so cannot physically accommodate any insertions bar “a finger”. We are told this mainly because it’s important to remember when doing a Per Vaginal examination for a minor but also as a method of detecting rape in children. Often the rapist uses the legs for stimulation rather than actual penetration. I understand this is information that seems extremely gruesome and unnecessary but you have to remember why I say this. Penetration of a minor with any object can rupture the vagina with ease.
There were injuries to her lips and cheeks where she was hit by her rapist and there were bruise marks on her neck indicating an attempt to strangle her. When she was brought in she had a low blood pressure and a fever.
The child’s condition is critical and she is in ICU care.
Protesters already have started agitating blaming the police for not taking the case seriously. There is a genuine lack of safety for women in India that has gone unchanged for too long. That there has to be a change in the very culture that underlies India.
Currently the protesters demand the arrest of the perpetrator and that the girl be shifted to a better hospital. The family are furious at the actions of the police who even tried to bribe them to keep quiet (Rs. 2000 – $40 Approx).
And that’s not the only case. Today another case was filed. The body of a six year old was found in a garbage heap in Uttar Pradesh. The child’s body was found this morning and in a few hours, nearly a hundred protestors gathered. Officers used batons on the crowd, and attacked the girl’s parents dragging her on the ground. Three policemen have been suspended and the police acknowledge that “unnecessary force was used on protesters”. The preliminary examination indicates intercourse has taken place. News is still coming in on that one.
The anger is rising again in India. It doesn’t matter what laws you make. In order to stop rape you need to change the culture of India and empower women. You need to teach men to not rape women, not blame everything else. The real fault here lies in the rapist and a culture of harassment, denigration of women and rape. The protests will keep happening and they SHOULD. Society cannot afford complacency on this.
There are no excuses here. Culture Must Change. You aren’t going to protect girls by keeping them away from boys. You are going to protect them by teaching boys and girls responsible behaviour and how to treat each other properly. Teach boys to respect women and not rape them. Teach girls and boys that No Means No, not No Means Try Harder. These young kids think like that because they have no adult role models to sit them down and tell them that. What they have instead are movies which are made by people who themselves think “No means Try Harder” and who have never had to date either. It’s like taking sex advice from the Pope.
India must change. Otherwise these incidents will just keep happening.