Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
In a harrowing incident, six men allegedly gang-raped a 19-year-old woman at a village in Kishanganj district of Bihar, while her father was forced to watch, said police on Thursday, February 7. According to superintendent of Police Kumar Ashish, the incident took place in the Kodhiwadi police station area.
The six perpetrators knocked at the door late at night pretending to have come for water. The family answered the door.
Forcing their way into the house, the six men took the father-daughter duo to a deserted area less than a kilometre away from where they lived. There, they tied up the father with a rope and raped the woman in front of him, forcing him to watch. The men allegedly thrashed both of them brutally, Hindustan Times reported. The men then threatened to kill both of them if they told anyone about the incident.
Following a complaint filed by the victim, an FIR was lodged. For medical examination, the victim has been sent to Kishanganj Sadar hospital, reported India Today. The victim also said that these men were from her village and she would be able to identify them. Ashish said that not just Kodhiwadi but other adjoining police stations are also on the lookout for the six accused. However, more than 24 hours have gone by but there have been no arrests yet.
Looking back, we are reminded of the harrowing incident in 2012 where Nirbhaya was gang-raped and tortured inside a moving bus on the streets of Delhi. So brutal was the incident that resulted in her death, that it shook the entire country to the core.
A lot was promised by the nation following the 2012 incident. It promised that there will be better and more sensitive police force, that women will find it easier to lodge a complaint, victims will be provided with legal aid and the country’s roads will have more lights and CCTV cameras to make women feel safer.
It is not that nothing has changed following Nirbhaya’s rape and murder. Women’s rights is an issue which is now discussed more often than before, and the need to educate the youth is given more attention. Many rape victims now reveal their names because they are aware that it is the rapist, and not they, who are to be blamed. People talk about changing a man’s mentality rather than a woman’ dress sense.
But how much of all this has really changed the lives of women in the country?
Women are still afraid to come back home from work at night. They still have to think twice before boarding a bus that does not have too many people inside it. Where they go, what they wear and whom they talk to, are issues that are still discussed. Most disturbingly, police and health workers still doubt survivors of sexual assault and question them about their moral character.
So how much has the average man’s attitude towards women really changed?
An average man’s regressive mentality towards women still rules the roots of the deeply conservative Indian society. Women must not drink, dance, wear revealing clothes and be out after dark are ideas that are still embedded in their minds.
The trauma that becomes a major part of a survivor’s life is probably the worst form of distress a woman can feel. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, phobias and low self-esteem rule their days. They constantly deal with self-blame, fear, embarrassment, distrust, isolation, vulnerability and sadness.
People often react to a survivor’s disclosure with disbelief and skepticism. The notion of people talking about a victim behind her back pushes her deeper into the realm of fear and depression.
Simply letting a victim know that we are there for her and that we believe her might just help her deal with the situation better. We will naturally have a strong reaction to what has happened, but it is important to remember that focusing on the feelings of the survivor is much more important than focusing on those of our own.
Being a patient listener and a strong supporter of the survivor will help her fight the battle against society more easily.
With the rise in incidents of sexual abuse and harassment, torture and rape, it is important for the country to execute all that it promised its women after the Nirbhaya incident. A more sensitive police force, easier methods to register a complaint, but above everything else, education and awareness, and the need to bring about a change in the way society thinks. No matter how difficult it may be, it is possible. Like everyone else, women too deserve a safer, happier and freer life.
Even several hours after this Bihar incident, the perpetrators are roaming free. There should indeed be more effort on the part of the police force. The Logical Indian hopes the six men are caught at the soonest and strict action is taken against them.
Thank you for subscribing.
We have sent you a confirmation email.