When the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for the 4 men involved in the infamous 2012 Delhi Gang Rape, it seemed as though India was taking a small step towards recognizing its nationwide epidemic of violence against women.
And yet, just yesterday, news broke that another young woman has been gang raped and murdered in Northern India.
She is said to have been kidnapped from Rohtak on May 9th by her "jilted lover" and his friends. Her parents claim that he'd been pressuring their daughter to get married, and when she refused, he became enraged. Evidence shows that her face had been beaten with a brick pre-mortem.
Her parents also claim that their complaints made nearly 3 months ago with the local police had been ignored. This suggests women's safety is not a priority concern for law enforcement, despite the number of high profile cases that have arisen in the past year.
In equally appalling news, courts are currently deliberating whether a 10 year old Indian girl impregnanted by her step-father will be permitted to have an abortion.
The girl is currently 5 months pregnant. Abortion is not permitted in India after 20 weeks of pregnancy, unless the birth poses a significant threat to the mother's health. However, in this case, an abortion would pose an equally grave threat to the mother's well-being as a delivery.
In the meantime, the step-father has been apprehended and will be facing charges. The victim claims she did not come forward earlier because her step-father (who also happens to be her paternal uncle) threatened her with more violence.
Both these cases -- that of the victim in Rohtak and this 10 year old -- point to a problem in India that seems to have been discussed ad naseum, and yet, shows no sign of slowing down. The question becomes: how far must things be taken until this issue is treated with the urgency it deserves?
by Imaiya Ravichandran