Another woman has been gang-raped in India. You would think that after the last horrific attack and reaction that some message might have been absorbed. But, no. Another attack on another woman on a bus, just like the last one. This attack occurred in the Gurdaspur district of Punjab on Friday night. A young woman riding the bus home found herself the lone female passenger as the bus sped past her stop. The driver and the conductor took the 29-year-old married woman to an undisclosed house where they were joined by 5 more men. The gang raped the woman through the night. She said that the men threatened her with a weapon and did “… wrong things with me.” In the morning, the woman was dropped off at her village where she reported the rape to her family and authorities. The police arrested six of the men, including the driver and the conductor, while one suspect remains at large.
This woman, unlike the woman who was attacked, raped and beaten on December 16th, did not require hospitalization. But she is one of thousands of women who are raped in India every year. The Punjab district is in the north of India and is where the most rapes are reported: 6,227 in 2011, the last year for which statistics are available. Those are just the ones that are reported. Seema Sirohi, of the Indian Council on Global Relations says that most Indian women have a story of sexual harassment or abuse in the streets of the cities and on public transportation.
Unfortunately, it will take an overhaul of Indian society and its attitude towards women. In a country where 300,00 to 600,000 baby girls are aborted, because the preference is for boys, being a woman is fraught with danger and abuse. From the time she is born, a woman is looked upon as a second-class citizen and often denied education. Girls are married off early and then are virtually slaves to their husbands, many of whom believe it is okay to beat their wives. It is especially bad for poor women, as is often the case everywhere, even here in the United States.
The Home Minister of India is starting to take action to protect Indian women. More female police officers will be recruited and trained – only 7% of Indian police are women. Courts are being overhauled, including courts specifically for rape cases, so as to try these cases in a timely manner. Helplines and websites are springing up and a task force has been formed. But all of this will be for naught if the basic attitude towards women goes unchanged. I fear we have not heard the last of these kinds of rape in India, nor will we for some time to come.
T. Steelman is a life-long Liberal. She has been writing online about politics since 2007. She lives in Western Washington with her husband, daughter, 2 cats and a small herd of alpacas. How can anybody be enlightened? Truth is, after all, so poorly lit…