Seven years ago, a Delhi rape victim was mounted onto a pedestal for her rape by the world during December 2012. The 23 year old girl was dubbed ‘Nirbhaya’ by the media after six men offered her and her male friend a lift in a mini-bus. She was then raped and assaulted with an iron rod. She later succumbed to her injuries. This incident rattled India and the world bringing massive protests against India’s apathy towards sexual violence incidents.
She has become the constant reminder to the world of how we have failed ourselves as human beings. Despite the social media outrage about the case, the men responsible for the crime have no realisation of the crime they’ve committed.
These horrible men spent their time in jail with no sense of remorse with the caveman attitude that they are superior in every way possible. On Friday, Nirbhaya’s assailants have paid for their crimes with their life as they were executed by order of hanging by India’s justice system.
A recent interview by BBC for a documentary, Mukesh Singh who was the driver of the bus had denied his involvement, till DNA tests proved him wrong. According to Singh, Nirbhaya had received the fatal degree of violence because she and her friend had tried to fight back.
Here’s what he said:
“When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they’d have dropped her off after ‘doing her’, and only hit the boy.”
“You can’t clap with one hand – it takes two hands.”
“A decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy. Boy and girl are not equal. Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes. About 20 per cent of girls are good.”
He also has a twisted logic to argue against the death penalty that many believe he should receive.
“The death penalty will make things even more dangerous for girls,” he says. “Before, they would rape and say, ‘Leave her, she won’t tell anyone.’ Now when they rape, especially the criminal types, they will just kill the girl. Death.” One would think that no one can defend Singh after his involvement in the most shocking incident Delhi has seen in recent years.
“Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes. About 20 per cent of girls are good.”
Singh also claimed that executing him and the other convicted rapists will endanger future rape victims.
“The death penalty will make things even more dangerous for girls,” he says. “Before, they would rape and say, ‘Leave her, she won’t tell anyone.’ Now when they rape, especially the criminal types, they will just kill the girl. Death.”
The interview, aired on BBC Four on its Storyville programme that coincided with International Women’s Day, The show was seen by women’s rights groups as compelling evidence of the appalling attitudes shown by many Indian men towards women. You
The lawyers who defended the gang in court express similarly extreme views.
In a previous televised interview, AP Singh, a lawyer, said: “If my daughter or sister engaged in premarital activities and disgraced herself and allowed herself to lose face and character by doing such things, I would most certainly take this sort of sister or daughter to my farmhouse, and in front of my entire family, I would put petrol on her and set her alight.”
In the BBC documentary, he adds that his stance has not changed: “This is my stand. I still today stand on that reply.”
In a previous televised interview, lawyer AP Singh said: “If my daughter or sister engaged in pre-marital activities and disgraced herself and allowed herself to lose face and character by doing such things, I would most certainly take this sort of sister or daughter to my farmhouse, and in front of my entire family, I would put petrol on her and set her alight.” And he confirms to Udwin in the documentary that his stance remains the same: “This is my stand. I still today stand on that reply.”
Another defence lawyer who acted in the case, ML Sharma, says: “In our society, we never allow our girls to come out from the house after 6:30 or 7:30 or 8:30 in the evening with any unknown person.”
“You are talking about man and woman as friends. Sorry, that doesn’t have any place in our society. We have the best culture. In our culture, there is no place for a woman.”
Jyoti’s mother says: “Whenever there’s a crime, the girl is blamed, ‘She should not go out. She shouldn’t roam around so late or wear such clothes.’ It’s the boys who should be accused and asked why they do this. They shouldn’t do this.”
Writer and historian Dr Maria Misra of Oxford University says: “Her death has made a huge difference. I think that, first of all, it has really brought home the issue of the problems of the way young and independent women are perceived in Indian society. It’s opened up a debate in India that I think hasn’t been held publicly and widely about exactly what the relationship between men and women should be.”
Jyoti’s father says: “Jyoti has become a symbol. In death, she has lit such a torch that not only this country, but the whole world, got lit up. But at the same time, she posed a question. What is the meaning of ‘a woman’? How is she looked upon by society today? And I wish that whatever darkness there is in this world should be dispelled by this light.”
Director-Producer Leslee Udwin describes what impelled her to make the documentary, “When news of this gang-rape hit our TV screens in December 2012, I was as shocked and upset as we all are when faced with such brazen abandon of the norms of ‘civilised’ society. But what actually inspired me to commit to the harrowing and difficult journey of making this film was the optimism occasioned by the reports that followed the rape.
Courageous and impassioned ordinary men and women of India braved the December freeze to protest in unprecedented numbers, withstanding an onslaught of teargas shells, lathi charges and water canons, to make their cry of ‘enough is enough’ heard. In this regard, India led the world by example. In my lifetime, I can’t recall any other country standing up with such commitment and determination for women’s rights.”