The Cursed Culture of Sexual Harrasment in India
By Sania Merchant
This piece discusses material that may be disturbing to some readers, discretion is advised.
An opinion piece, from the perspective of a woman in India
Shock. Horror. Fear. That's what millions of people in India have been feeling the past few days when they read the headlines about the rape cases that seem to increase day by day. According to a statistic, it is said that a woman is raped every 20 minutes in India. Every. Twenty. Minutes. About 90 cases of rape occur every day in the country. Rape in India has become such a big is the issue that the country's capital itself- Delhi is named "The Rape Capital of India" Rape is one of the leading crimes against women. Women all over the country are living in fear and dread.
Dr Priyanka Reddy from Hyderabad was a regular veterinarian doctor who was going through her daily routine on 27th November 2019 and was trying to go home around 9:00 pm when she found that her scooter's tyre was punctured. She was then approached by a group of men who insisted to "help" her by offering to take her scooter to a mechanic.
At 9:22 she called her sister to inform her of her whereabouts and proceeded to confess that she was scared because she was alone with a group of unknown men and surrounded by trucks.
At 9:44 Priyanka's sister called her; Priyanka's phone was switched off.
Priyanka Reddy was brutally gang-raped by 4 men on the night of 27th November 2019. After they raped her, they smothered and gagged her to death and then proceeded to dump her body at an open ground, wrap her body with a blanket and burn her body.
Her body was found the next morning and soon the culprits were found and arrested. The news about the rape quickly spread like wildfire and took the nation by storm.
A number of people protested and raised their voice in favour of hanging the rapists. People compared the rape case to that of 16th December 2012’s “Nirbhaya” Delhi case in which the victim was brutally gang-raped by 6 men in a bus; she died on 29th December of that year. Four of the rapists are currently battling the case as they face the death penalty and are to be hanged anytime soon.
For the recent Priyanka Reddy case, people were outraged and protesting to hang the rapists immediately; however, they didn’t have to worry about legal actions because on 7th December 2019 at 3:30 am the accused rapists were killed in a police encounter at the site of the crime when they “tried to flee and hurt the cops.” Social media was immediately filled with applauding the police for taking such a quick action.
However, the peace didn’t last much long as other rape cases gained more attention. One of them being the rape of “Twinkle”, a 6-year-old girl from the state of Rajasthan. Her body in her school uniform was found in a hut in a forest near her school, with a belt tied around her neck which she was strangled with. Her body was found the one day after she went missing and her neighbour was bought in and accused of rape.
On 5th December in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh a 23-year-old rape victim was on her way to the hearing of her case when she was set on fire by a group of men, including the accused rapists; she passed away the next day.
Day by day, the cases of rape and victim attacks are increasing and the anger in people is increasing too. People are slowly getting out their bubble and realising the harsh reality. People are rising against the cruel acts against women.
Women are rising are the cruel acts against themselves. We don't want to see or hear about another rape case. We don't want to lose another daughter, mother, sister; wife or friend to the cruelty of people. We are done losing another woman of our own. We are done with the candle marches and peaceful protests and never-ending trials. We are done with the cruelty of others and want immediate action. We want justice. We want to walk down the street without the fear of being kidnapped, raped or murdered. We want to be fearless.