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Jan 26 2013

What they did about it

The BBC’s Andrew North tells us more about the Delhi rape victim.

Like the student’s family, at least two of the accused are from impoverished villages in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, and source for many of the thousands of migrants who come to Delhi every year hoping for a better life
- the same journey her father made nearly 30 years ago.

And the other men are from similar migrant backgrounds. Where they differ, though, was in what they did about it.

“We gave our all to our daughter,” her mother told us, still devastated with grief. She says she can barely leave her bed, complaining of frequent headaches and chest pains.

And their support was working: her daughter was studying at a college in Dehradun in northern India and was on course to qualify as a physiotherapist, while working overtime in a call centre.

“We never gave our sons better treatment,” said the mother. In that respect they were also different from many among India’s middle class.

Figures show they are just as likely as poorer groups to favour male children, even before they are born – and afterwards in care and medical treatment.

It means India is in a rare category – along with only China – of having higher rates of infant mortality among girls than boys.

The student’s mother also lashed out at India’s sexist attitudes, attacking the many politicians and other public figures who’ve suggested she brought the rape on herself.

One well-known spiritual guru even said she should have embraced her attackers as “brothers” to stop them assaulting her.

“Either they don’t have daughters,” her mother said, “or they are clearly backing these crimes.”

It’s heartbreaking.

6 comments

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  1. 1
    Argle Bargle

    “Either they don’t have daughters,” her mother said, “or they are clearly backing these crimes.”

    These two choices are not mutually exclusive.

  2. 2
    Martin Cohen

    Article in Reuters:

    http://news.yahoo.com/indian-women-given-kitchen-knives-chili-fend-off-075309833.html

    “Indian women given kitchen knives, chili to fend off rapists”

    That’s a good start.

  3. 3
    crowepps

    I disagree, Martin. First, stabbing someone with a paring knife because he gropes your butt isn’t as likely to fend him off as it is to have him react by clubbing you to the ground.

    Second, it leaves the responsibility for changing things with the victim, instead of changing the attitudes of society. When *everybody* on the bus is outraged by groping and lewd propositions and yells “Leave her alone, you pervert”, then things might change.

  4. 4
    Sastra

    One well-known spiritual guru even said she should have embraced her attackers as “brothers” to stop them assaulting her.
    “Either they don’t have daughters,” her mother said, “or they are clearly backing these crimes.”

    There might be a third option here: the “spiritual guru” is a bliss ninny almost completely divorced from reality and living in their own little dream world inside their own little head, aided and abetted by a culture which fetishizes such wishful thinking. Of course, the net result would be the same as the mother’s second possibility, but I still find myself personally reluctant to automatically credit spiritual gurus with common sense.

  5. 5
    LykeX

    @Sastra
    That was my first thought, too. Never underestimate people’s ability to not recognize reality, especially when ignoring reality is their profession.

  6. 6
    Lovely

    What I take from this is that most countries have higher infant mortality rates among males. That’s saddening.

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