Eight years ago, a 23-year-old medical intern was brutally raped and killed in a moving bus on December 16, 2012. This horrifying assault came to be known as the ‘2012 Delhi gang rape and murder’ or the ‘Nirbhaya case.’ In March 2020, all accused were sentenced to death.
But the real question is that what has changed after the brutal gang-rape of ‘Nirbhaya.’
Eight years later, India experienced a Déjà vu, when a 20-year-old Dalit woman was brutally raped by four upper-caste men in the Hathras District of UP on September 14, 2020. Two weeks later, she succumbed. The victim was cremated at 2 AM on 29th September. Her family alleges that the cops forcefully performed her last rites. They also claim that they were locked up in their house during the process. Sadly, they did not get to see the last glimpse of their daughter. Merely after 24 hours, another Dalit woman was raped in UP’s Balrampur and was allegedly sent back home in a critical condition in an auto-rickshaw.
In 2019, a 27-year-old veterinarian was allegedly raped and set on fire in Hyderabad. The police shot all four accused of the Hyderabad rape case in an alleged encounter. Many hailed the cops as the harbingers of justice.
The judicial system in the country has disappointed its women time and again. It took eight long years for the apex court to announce the death penalty in the Delhi rape case. In the Unnao rape case, the victim died before the final verdict. Such delays hurt the victim’s sentiments and shake the belief in existing laws in the country.
Every 15 minutes, a rape takes place in India. According to the latest data released on September 29, 2020, India recorded an average of 87 rapes per day in 2019, a rise of over 7% from 2018. The recent incident has sparked outrage on social media. Protests have also erupted in some parts of the country. But the problem of rape and misogyny is so deep-rooted in India that a large scale movement is required to eliminate it. As Mahatma Gandhi rightly said, ”Be the change that you want to see in the world”. We need to focus on the social aspect along with the legal aspect of crime against women.
Rape culture is an environment where sexual assaults are normalized. In India, it has become a widespread epidemic with no hopes of possible vaccination available in the future. The symptoms of this disease include rape jokes, casual sexism, toxic masculinity, victim-blaming and the like.
It usually takes place in houses where the male child is encouraged to dominate the females around him. Another aspect that contributes to the increasing rape culture is the sexually implicit language used in our daily conversation. India needs to bring a behavioural transformation in society with stricter laws to ensure women’s safety.