By Jason Jayology:
Sorry to interrupt the very pertinent social commentary about the authenticity of Beyonce’s newfound feminism, but it turns out that the two teenage cousins who were raped and lynched in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh past May, weren’t actually raped at all. Well, not necessarily gang-raped as first reported, but rather “doubtfully” raped. Makes sense? Now, you can go back to discussing Beyonce lighting up the VMA’s in the light of her feminism…
Her words ring out, “I know when you were little girls you dreamt of being in my world…” But wait, Beyonce.
In May, two teenage girls stepped outside to find a place to relieve themselves in the middle of the night. The next time they were seen hanging like strange fruit- limp and lifeless from a mango tree. Initially, it was reported that the father of one of the girls, and the uncle of the other went to the police to solicit their help. They filed a complaint which was ripped up in the men’s faces by the officers.
Early that morning, villagers made their way to the tree to ensure that these girls—hanging like brutalized human ornaments of man’s violent, misogynistic brutality—weren’t tampered with by the police. But why were they fearful of the police from the onset? And why were they worried that the girls’ deaths would be ruled as suicides?
Days later, the Superintendent of the Budaun Police, Man Singh Chouhan said, as chronicled by India Times journalist Sonal Bhadoria, “The post-mortem report confirmed rape of the two girls, the autopsy confirmed they were strangled.” The DNA from the post mortem was used to track down and arrest three men belonging to the Yadev caste and later two more men of the same community—who just so happened to be police officers.
Seemingly, the men who committed this crime were behind bars, the police who laughed in the faces of the victims’ families still had their jobs, and the world declared a war on the lack of sanitation in response to these rapes. Just days after the world decided that the answer to rape was to increase sanitation, Uttar Pradesh State Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan proclaimed, “Rape is a trivial incident.” Maybe he needs a dose of Beyonce-strength empowerment:
“I heard your boo was talking lip, I told my crew smack that…” Hold it, Beyonce.
Women should unite against the scourge of idiocy, which in its narrowness reiterates that violence against women is trivial.
Or perhaps Beyonce can provide her own anthem: Smack that trick, smack that trick.
Something doesn’t seem right. First the murders are gang rapes, and then only one girl was raped, followed by rape just being “trivial” according to an official of the state. The girls were lynched from trees and the world was silent. Something isn’t right. Subsequently, Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police, A. L. Banerjee, intervenes to bring some order to this situation. His words galvanize the people who surrounded the tree to raise their fists in the air as their initial fear comes to fruition: “According to the post-mortem report of the deceased, one of the girls was not raped and it appears to be a case of honour killing.”
What does this mean for the entire journalistic community and United Nations, who think that solving the problem of rape requires building more toilets? Do toilets solve honour killings, too? Does this mean that the article by Price of Silence published in Youth Ki Awaaz called “The Problem With Insisting Lack Of Toilets Cause Rapes” was way ahead of its time? So many unanswered questions.
Following this new development in the case, CBI filed a petition for the bodies of the dead girls to be exhumed, but the Ganges had flooded and the bodies couldn’t be found. So, all the CBI had to go on with was a shoe from one of the victims and the original vaginal swab which was used to illuminate the original claim that the girls were raped, then to support the claim by authorities that there was no rape, and that it was an alleged honour killing.
More toilets would not have solved this problem. And there is no way that the media can bury this glaring inconsistency and make any deceptive statements, like CNN’s headline, “Investigations cast doubt on rape claim in teen-hanging case.” Suddenly, months after the attack, there is a shadow of doubt. Just three months ago, when those young bodies with so much more life to live were still warm and hanging from mango trees, the autopsy, post mortem and the initial report declared that rape had taken place. So, how does CNN respond to this inconstancy: “Two teenage girls, who were found hanging from a tree in northern India in May, were not raped as originally alleged”? Subsequently, Barbara Frost publishes an article for Huffington Post, aligning with our original discontent with this solution, titled “Toilets Can’t End the Violence – But Are Part of the Solution.” Soon, the lame stream media will understand the inalienability of rights, and that the neglect of one right (like the right to sanitation for your health and wellbeing) isn’t rectified by the realization of another right (like your right to walk in public without being harassed, groped, leered at, intimidated, stalked, or sexually assaulted), because you were already entitled to all of these rights by way of being born a human being.
We spoke to one activist on the ground, Jenny Lovesu with 16th December Kranti in Delhi, about the very suspect nature of these latest conclusions. He immediately responded in heartfelt distress that the CBI “is nothing more than a puppet of the government.” The same government whose Defense and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley just days before the new post mortem report was released by the Medical Board, spoke ignorance to power by stating that the brutal infamous rape and murder of Jyoti Braveheart Singh on December 16th, 2013 was a “small rape incident” which has cost “billions” in tourism.
Now, we leave you with Beyonce:
I know when you were little girls
You dreamt of being in my world
Don’t forget it, don’t forget it
Respect that, bow down bitches.
We still have a long, long way to go. Until every girl and woman is safe, we will not be silenced. Instead of bowing down bitches, let us rise, let us unite and let’s break misogyny’s hold on everything.
Edited by Sioux Mahadeo