A 50-year-old woman was gang-raped and murdered allegedly by a priest and two of his associates, in Uttar Pradesh's Badaun area on Sunday, January 3, when she had gone to a temple.
Broken ribs, iron rod inserted into private parts, damaged lungs, among other injuries were recorded in the autopsy report. The details of the gruesome incident have a stark parallel, an eerie similarity to the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape.
Yet, the outrage is not a third of what we saw back in 2012. One can assume various reasons for the same, to the author it seems a lack of relatability. A crime of no greater proportionality than before.
A woman in her 50s, raped by a priest.
There is no element of voyeurism here. No talk of clothes, not a 'single woman' out with her boyfriend at night. Yet, this brutal rape is a vindication of some hard facts.
That the place of the incident matters as little as the clothes of the victim. An exhibition in Brussels in 2017 showed the outfits worn by rape victims. Hanging around the room were a pair of pyjamas, a child's school uniform, police attire among others.
That age is not a factor of rape.
The rape statistics in India show that out of the 32,000 reported victims in 2019, 15 per cent were children.
That rape is out about power.
A bus driver, a priest, a politician, a husband, educated, illiterate -- a rape is independent of profession, social class or education. What matters, is the rape and the rapist itself. Although NCRB data of 2016 suggests that states with lower poverty rates tend to have a higher reporting of rapes per 100,000 of the population. Implying that women in higher-income societies report cases of rape more openly.
The opposite is also true.
Women in lower-income groups tend not to report cases of sexual violence and yet those who do, are not covered as extensively as those from affluent class.
Rape is only relatable when it happens in the urban areas, to the working class. Because if it can happen to them, it can happen to us.
With others, it's a daily story, one that we need not bother our peace of mind for. Another day, another rape. That is what the Bandaun incident has been reduced to. Limited outrage, absence of corrective measures, accustomed media and a complacent citizenry.