AS THE 23-year-old victim of a brutal gang rape nearly two weeks ago fights for her life in hospital, further cases of police indifference and political insensitivity to sexual violence in India continue to disturb the country.
The woman has ”significant brain injury”, infections in the lungs and abdomen and is “struggling against the odds” to survive, a hospital statement said on Friday. She was flown to Singapore for treatment overnight on Wednesday after her condition deteriorated.
Her case caused further political uproar when the son of India’s President, and a member of Parliament, Abhijit Mukherjee, was upbraided by his father, Pranab Mukherjee, his sister and his son for saying women protesting against sexual violence were ”highly dented and painted” and not real protesters.
”What’s basically happening in Delhi is something like pink revolution, which has little connection with ground realities,” Mr Mukherjee said. The phrase ”dented and painted” is used by mechanics who mask the bruised bodywork of second-hand cars.
Mr Mukherjee’s sister Sharmishtha said it was ”something that we as a family definitely don’t agree with”.
”It’s not just one protest, it’s accumulated rage over the way women are being treated, raped, molested … my father is absolutely with me on this.”
Anita Shukla, a scientist at a prestigious rural university, told a ”women’s empowerment” seminar in Madhya Pradesh the rape victim’s injuries were her own fault.
The woman, a physiotherapy student, was beaten with an iron rod and repeatedly raped on a bus in south Delhi on December 16 by six men, before her naked body was thrown from the moving vehicle onto a road. ”Had the girl simply surrendered when surrounded by six men, she would not have lost her intestine,” Dr Shukla said. ”Why was she out with her boyfriend at 10pm?
”When a group of men intend to rape, they will do it. The victim should save herself for bringing the perpetrators to book.” She later apologised.
Much of the anger of the recent protests has been directed towards India’s politicians and police, who many feel are part of the problem of a culture of sexual violence.
Police are regularly accused of dismissing rape complaints, not believing women who make a complaint or blaming them for the attacks, saying they should not have been out late, drinking and talking to men.
On Wednesday, a 17-year-old girl from a village in Punjab, killed herself six weeks after she was abducted, drugged and raped by three men.
In her suicide note she blamed her attackers and police hostility for destroying her life. Police at first refused to register a complaint from the woman, and only acted after she had killed herself.