Nirbhaya

Posted by Rimli Bhattacharya in Gender-Based Violence
December 16, 2017

“I just want to sleep. A coma would be nice. Or amnesia. Anything, just to get rid of this, these thoughts, whispers in my mind. Did he rape my head, too?”  – Laurie Halse Anderson

It was a cold winter evening, 16 December 2017 when a young woman of age 23, Jyoti Singh and her friend Awindra Pratap Pandey were returning home. They had watched a movie together Life of Pi together. I guess they had enjoyed that evening together for the last time. Little did they know the ordeal was about to begin.

They boarded a joy rider bus from Munrika for Dwarka, the clock ticked 9.30PM IST. Apart from the duo, there were six other people in the bus and in that group of six men there was a minor too. Awindra got apprehensive when he realized that the bus has deviated from the regular route and also the doors were shut.

Awaindra reached out to those men and broke into a tussle with them. Those men taunted him that he had enjoyed enough with his girlfriend, gagged him, beat him with an iron rod. He was knocked unconscious.

Unable to witness the violence Jyoti reached out to those assailants, she fought with all her strength, but they laughed like those beasts ready to pounce on her and tear her flesh. She was dragged to the back end of the bus where they beat her up with that iron rod, raped her, pushed that iron rod in her, pulled out her intestines, one by one they all raped her till she could no longer bear the pain and she closed her eyes.

That iron rod was later nothing but an L shaped object used as a wheel jack handle.

The minor took her intestine in his hands, looked at it and laughed his heart out and threw that intestine away for the dogs to feast on. They also threw those unconscious souls in the street at 11.00PM IST. Those naked souls lay like dead flesh in that cold winter night. Some good Samaritan called the cops who took them to Safdarjung hospital.  Medical investigations revealed there had been severe damage to Jyoti’s Uterus, genitals and intestine.

There was a nationwide outcry, the team of doctors tried their best to save the woman, and there were pressures from politicians as well to extend the best medical treatment to the victims. The then PM Manmohan Singh took a decision in a special cabinet meeting to shift her to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore for multi-organ transplant but nothing helped her. She tried to fight, she tried her best but she lost her battle on 29 December 2012.

The arrests were done, there were investigations, there were protests in the entire nation, and noted personalities condemned the barbaric act. The court’s proceedings happened as per our law. The verdict was pronounced by our court of justice. The victim was named Nirbhaya as she fought to live. BBC made a film on her India’s daughter after interviewing one of the rapists locked at Tihar Jail. In December 2013, Jyoti’s family opened Nirbhaya trust to assist the women who have experienced similar atrocity. Last but not the least, one good news, Awindra Pratap Pandey survived.

In my essay, I spoke on one Nirbhaya. I question the society how safe are we? That same incident can happen to me as well. There had been numerous occasions where I was groped in public. How do I stop it? I still face the same when I travel in public transport, as a working woman I travel alone even in the dead of night and I may be another victim of rape.

As per Wikipedia: “Rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2013 annual report, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012. Out of these, 24,470 were committed by someone known to the victim (98% of the cases).  Further reports First Post“The 2015 National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) data on the proximity of offenders to victims (the most recent data available) shows that in 95 percent of all rape cases, the offender knew the victim […]. According to the data collated by the NCRB, Madhya Pradesh with 4,391 cases, Maharashtra with 4,144, Rajasthan with 3,644, Uttar Pradesh with 3,025, Odisha with 2,251 and Delhi with 2,199 recorded the highest number of reported rape cases. However, it must be noted that a lower rape count could mean a lower ‘reported’ rape count. States that do better on other gender parity metrics (literacy rate, sex ratio, workforce participation etc) are likely to see a higher count of reported rapes because more victims try to access the justice system. For example, Kerala reported 1,256 rapes while Bihar reported 1,041 rapes, despite the fact that the population of Bihar is three times the population of Kerala. The interactive data dashboard breaks down the numbers by national average, state/Union territory and proximity of offenders to victims.”

I have just provided the statistics, the numbers.

In conclusion, I say numbers are constant. Until they’re not. Our inability to influence outcome is the great equalizer. Makes the world fair. Computers generate random numbers in an attempt to glean meaning out of probability. Endless numerical sequences, lacking any pattern. During cataclysmic global events… tsunami, earthquake, the attacks on 9/11… these random numbers suddenly stop being random. As our collective consciousness synchronizes, so do the numbers. Science can’t explain the phenomenon, but religion does. It’s called prayer. A collective request, sent up in unison. A shared hope. Numbers are constant, until they’re not. Make the nation a better place. Media is a powerful weapon to reach out to the masses but as a woman, I appeal to stop rape, please stop sharing those videos on social media.

I am a woman myself, I am groped in public very often, let me not get raped. Let the numbers not increase for I say numbers are constant until they are not. I wish to live, I don’t want to die. Do not rape me, please. I am a woman, respect me I plead.

Today is 16 December 2017, exactly five years of that incident, can I say that I am safe if I go out for a movie tonight?