india gang rape victim daminiIndia gang rape victim ‘Damini’ unfortunately succumbed to her injuries nearly two weeks after that fateful day. The 23 year old medical student sustained serious internal injuries after being violated with an iron bar during about an hour long sexual assault on a bus on 16th December 2012 in Delhi India, prior to being thrown out of the moving bus along with her friend.

Six men have since been charged with murder of this India gang rape victim, and currently the authorities are said to be pressing for the harshest possible punishment. Mass demonstrations have been going on by protesters to show their outrage against sexual violence.

 

India’s Gang Rape Victim Damini…or is she?

Before I proceed I must warn you that firstly I am not from India and not familiar with traditions, culture etc, and secondly, this article is based on my own personal views, insights and beliefs.

That aside, when I started following this case I was quite intrigued when I found out that the name Damini is not the victim’s real name. Personally I can understand that a living victim’s name is held as confidential, but I believe a victim who has succumbed due to such a horrible crime SHOULD be named. I see this would be a step towards a safer India with a more compassionate attitude. Should this girl’s name be publically announced, she won’t be just a memory, but a stronger reason to work towards a better India.

Apart from keeping her name secret, I was also shocked to hear that the victim was flown to Singapore rather than treated in her own country. We are talking about a patient who not only endured such a hideous act, but who had had organ failure, brain injury, infection, as well as a cardiac arrest. Why move such patient to a different location?

To add insult to injury, after her passing, India ‘s ‘Braveheart’, as she is also being called, has been flown back to India and cremated at night, not even brought back to her own village as is the custom. Secrecy? Why?

 

India Gang Rape Incidents & Traits

india gang rape victim daminiI do understand that India has a different culture than the one I’m accustomed to, me being Maltese…however I do feel that this case has highlighted multiple issues that have to be dealt with as soon as possible, as I believe that currently, the Indian culture centres a lot around ‘shame’ in such cases.

Whilst researching this case, I have found a lot of information about how such cases are treated in India. For example, I have read multiple times that girls are taught how to protect themselves from being raped…but shouldn’t boys be equally taught to respect girls as much as they respect themselves and NOT rape?

Another issue is how rape cases in India are dealt with. Young women in India who are courageous enough to report gang rape incidents have been subjected to internal finger checkups by doctors so it can be established whether the victim is habitual to sexual intercourse. Isn’t this also violation of women’s rights? Is the abuser being punished for the act, or the victim being harassed about it?

Shame plays a heavier role, or so I have found during researching this case. Reportedly, victims of rape in India are most often asked to choose between dropping charges or marrying the abuser or one of the attackers in the case of gang rape.

Some politicians have even dared to say that rape victims are to blame for their “adventurous spirit”. How can anyone deserve such an abusive act?

Let’s take one step back here…

A while ago a 17 year old young woman has also been gang raped and eventually committed suicide. She had reported the incident and was harassed by the police for around a month. Did she deserve this?

But there is more…just this week, a two year old girl has been raped by her own uncle. She also succumbed and passed away later on. To these politicians who believe that rape victims are to blame…did this little innocent two year old deserve this?

Rape is not about sex. It is about power. It is about that feeling where the abuser feels powerful over another human being. It is about seeing another human being at mercy. It is about lack of compassion towards another. It is about lack of equality between us as humans.

 

Should India Gang Rape Rapists Be Executed?

india gang rape victim daminiAgain, this is my personal opinion. I do understand that those closer to this case feel that rage inside them, making them ask for execution for these rapists. However, should a crime be solved with another crime?

I believe that by executing a murderer or a rapist in this case, India won’t be tackling the issue from its core, thus the issue will not be solved.

I believe India needs a different approach to this dilemma. For starters, rape crimes have to be taken more seriously. It takes much courage for a young woman to survive a rape assault, let alone admit to someone including police or authorities that she had been raped. Such women should not only be listened to, but also be provided free councelling and support to help with the aftermath of rape.

In addition to this, a new approach from the Indian public should be taken, particularly by women. A victim should not be bound to keep such incidents as hidden or secret. It is the abuser who should feel shameful and not the victim.

Awareness is the key here. I plead to all Indian women who have suffered abuse to report rape cases. One voice may not be enough, but a collective plea can be easily heard. Do not be afraid to make your voice heard.

Another thing that should be worked upon is equality between women and men. Indian women should not live in fear of going out in the evening because of the possibility of being raped. Authorities should work on increasing the amount of police going undercover in the evenings in areas prone to such incidents, and arrest anyone or any gang acting suspiciously towards women.

I also do believe that proper sexual education should be taught to both boys and girls at schools. Here in Malta we start educating kids from the age of 10. Equality should be mostly emphasised, as should also respect to both women and men. If sexual respect is taught from such a young age in India, tomorrow’s young women won’t be afraid of going out any more.

As for sexual offenders who are found guilty of sexual assault / rape, I wouldn’t suggest execution, since like I mentioned above, I don’t believe that by murdering a murderer or a criminal, the issue itself is ever solved. However I do believe in life sentencing with no chance for parole. In addition, with such harsh cases as this one was, I would impose weekly or monthly reporting to the police or a parole officer and possibly occasional evaluation of the ex-criminal to ensure that there is no possibility of the same crime being repeated again by the same person. Having been in prison for an x amount of years doesn’t necessarily mean that the criminal is reformed.

india gang rape victim daminiIt is now up to you reading this article. If you have the power in your hands to save India’s women in some way, whether you are a police officer in India, or a politician, or in a similar position, I humbly ask you to think about this. India gang rape victim Damini has been silenced, her body not only sexually assaulted and violated, but also burned to ashes. You reading this, do not choose to keep Damini’s voice in ashes. Let her cries echo within your heart and do what is best for India…Let her speak through your actions, by making India a safe place irrespective of whether you are male or female.

We are all brothers and sisters, we are all one. Let India’s gang rape victim Damini shine a light in each and every one of India’s residents that unites all as one through equality, compassion, respect, love and harmony.

 

Love & Light to You & Yours,

Claire

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