“The power of the rapist depends above all on the silence of women.”
– Ursula K. Le Guin –
The horrific case of Nirbhaya gang rape occurred on 16 December 2012 in Munirka, a neighbourhood in South Delhi. The incident took place when a 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern was beaten, was fatally assaulted, gang raped, and tortured in a private bus in which she was travelling with her friend. It shook entire humanity.
The four convicts of 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape cum murder were finally hanged in Tihar Jail on the Friday morning, March 20 after a delay of eight years. The decision was carried out by the three judge Supreme Court bench rejecting the plea by the convicts lawyer AP Singh to stay their execution. The bodies of all the convicts were handed over to the respective families for the last rites. The victim’s mother summed the decision as the “sun-rise for India’s daughters”.
The question is: will the hanging of Nirbhaya Case Convicts stop the heinous crimes across India? What about other Nirbhayas like Asifa? Indeed, there can be no yes/no answers to such questions because on one hand it will send shivers down the spine on the psyche of those who assault women sexually but on the other hand it will not impact much to those who are not consciously conscience enough about the value and the dignity of women or those who have often been objectifying women. In fact, most of the incidents of rape go unreported. And in such situations the assailer may enjoy the helplessness of the victim. Women also fear reporting sexual assaults because they know they will have to go through the mistreatment cum the taunts of the society. Sometimes victims who report the sexual assaults would end up being humiliated at the hands of police. In such cases, women suffer double mortification: one at the hands of the assailer and other from the police.Rape is a repugnant crime forbidden in all religions, laws and systems across the globe and is considered to be a very serious offence but we still witness the horrendous incidents of rapes like Nirbhaya and Asifa. Delhi court’s decision to execute Nirbhaya rapists may some way or the other help to stop the frequency of rapes but it would still be incumbent to treat the cause not the symptom because we treat every rape case a case about sexual desire. Had it been so then a baby of just six months old in the indore distrct of Madya Pardesh would not have fallen a prey or the Supreme Court would not have used the word ‘lust’ many a times in their verdict. No way I am trying to say that it does not have links with the word ‘lust’ but the problem is that the moment we call it a sexual problem, we bury all the plausible reasons of influence, credibility and the mindset that works behind it.
More so, what about the other victims who have been waiting in rows for years? How much time does it take to deliver justice to one Nirbhaya??There can be no denying of the fact that the judiciary system has not been able to provide justice to the rape victims on time. And thus the frequency of rapes are only increasing day by day. More so, there are some ministers have been accused to be involved in rape cases but no substantial inquiry has taken place against them. It is believed that if the victims are served justice fairly irrespective of the influence then it will help to stop the already menace in the society. In this regard, Union Cabinet few years ago took a welcome decision by approving an ordinance on death penalty for rape of children below 12 following the outrage from the public over Asifa Bano’s Case.
The judiciary needs to be strong and independent; the victims who have been carrying the burdens of rape throughout their lives need to be empathised, creating awareness among common masses through different media like print media, social media, and NGOs, the narratives about rape need to be revisited and retold and last but not the least the story does not exist unless its told.
Sayar Ahmed Mir