Since Pandey's fatal gang rape and attack on December 16th, there has been a surge of reporting of crimes of sexual violence all over India. These crimes occur all over the world, but in Indian society they were hardly ever reported and even less were given any media attention. In fact without the 200 students who began protesting, which then swelled to thousands, we may never have known about Jyoti's plight. However, it seems more survivors are now more willing and able to tell their stories and media in the country are paying more attention to them. We should note this does not necessarily indicate an increase in criminal activity, but in the reporting of it.
As Poulami Roychowhury writes in the Global Post:
A 29-year-old woman was travelling to her home state of Punjab, just northwest of Delhi, on a public bus. As with Jyoti, this bus driver refused to stop when the woman asked and instead took her to an isolated area. What ensued sounds nothing short of a nightmare. According to the survivor, she was threatened with weapons and raped by at least six men over the course of several hours. Luckily, she has survived, made it home to her family, and reported the crime in full detail. The local police, eager not to repeat the mistakes of the Delhi officers, quickly arrested six of the seven alleged attackers.
Then there was another tragic case, this time on a train and in the state of Bihar. According to International Business Times, the accounts of the details vary at this time. However, we know she was "on the train to Delhi with her 10-year-old son, was reportedly taken off the train to a nearby orchard, sexually assaulted, strangled, and hung from a tree." Reports have said there were arrests made, but no other details can be verified at this time.
As I've noted in earlier posts, this is a country that is barely 65 years old and the transformation of women's rights will take time. Can you imagine where your country was at 65? Did you have a female head of state? Was one of your most prominent politicians a minority woman, like Sonia Gandhi?
This is by no means a silencing of critiques of India's state of rights. In many parts of the country it is deplorable, at best. Access to education and wealth gaps are minimal and experiencing a sickening growth simultaneously. The protests should not be forgotten however; to even attempt to change a place and culture thousands of years old, with a billion people claiming it as home, takes a an impressive amount of courage of conviction. It's important to report the whole story and I ask readers to take that into account as we hear more about horrible incidents like this.