Violence against women: The Indian horror story

Believe it or not, crimes follow their own trend. Sometimes, to upgrade to a newer crime trend, people don’t even need the latest technology or hoards of money. All they need is – intent to destroy and an urge to not leave any identifiable traces.

This is exactly what makes for a chilling horror story. The kinds that would not let you sleep or eat! If you are thinking of cannibalism, well, you are close enough. The only difference is here instead of eating someone mercilessly, the guilty smashes their face, rips off some organs and mutilates some of their body parts as per his whims and fancies and may even fancy running them over with his vehicle, if he is not satisfied with torturing them and leaving them to die.

Sounds gory?

This is what happened with the Rohtak gangrape victim who was abducted from outside her office premises in Sonipat on May 9 while she was on her way to work and found two days later near the Industrial Model Township, Rohtak, Haryana, in a condition where nothing of her was left anymore, except for the dogs who fed on her decomposed body. There were gnawing marks found on her chest, as the post-mortem report claims; she was brutally raped by at least seven men (friends of the main accused) who inserted sharp objects in her private parts that were also later mutilated; her face was distorted, her oesophagus (food pipe) ripped out and skull smashed, suggesting that she was run over by the vehicle of the accused. The head injury, however, caused her death as multiple wounds covered her scalp.

Did the atrocious attempts at disfiguring and camouflaging her identity work for the accused? No.

The victim’s mother identified the Dalit girl’s body by her clothes and two of the accused have already been arrested so far, the main accused being a Dalit, who, to avenge the victim’s rejection of his marriage proposal several times over the past year (according to the victim’s family) planned this vile crime.

Well, almost!

The brutality seems to be out of pure rage that believes in a girl’s right to be obliged to marry anyone who proposes her for marriage and chooses to punish her if she, God forbid, says no. That she can have a say in choosing her own life partner is beyond these men.

If this incident reminded you of the gruesome Nirbhaya gangrape in December 2012, Delhi, and you thought that the brutality of the crime and how it shook the nation would lessen crimes against women, you were blinded by vain hopes as the crimes and criminals go a step further each time. Even if like the Nirbhaya rapists, death penalty is awarded to the Rohtak culprits as sought by the National Commission for Women (NCW), there is little or no hope that women would ever be left on their own.

If barely after a week of Supreme Court’s decision to hang the Nirbhaya rapists, Rohtak can make us recollect the Nirbhaya horror in a more pathetic way, what good will sending the rapists to the gallows serve? Maybe it will give some peace to Nirbhaya’s family, yes, but it will not prevent another Nirbhaya incident for sure.

The real horror lies in the society and the state’s inability to take cognizance and responsibility for how commonly women are subjected to rape and accept that there is a problem with the mindset that considers women as either disempowered, or as figures with whom honour ‘should’ be associated.

Sadly, ours is a country where women (established or ordinary) are threatened with rape, (whether through trolls on social media or personally) making the heinous crime a power game to subdue women in an attempt to rob them of their identity, confidence and self-belief. This assertion of overbearing power, control and dominance gives birth to crimes where women are thought to be easy targets to kidnap, rape and throw in an isolated place, much like how it happened with a 22-year-old Sikkim woman three days back.

This savagery and horror show will engulf many more Nirbhayas in its shackles until we nip this violent, damaging crime in the bud by raising responsible boys and making the state administration, legislative and judiciary systems take action for each case of violence against women, and not wait for the ‘rarest of rare’ cases to happen so that they can avenge a woman’s ‘lost honour’ with capital punishment.


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