On 16 December, 2012, the Nirbhaya rape case
rocked the whole of India. For a long time, we protested, came out on the streets, demanded change in laws, wanted the rapists hanged, shouted slogans of women’s empowerment, wanted safety for women. The fire is still seen, the flames are still being fanned, the coals are still red and we’re still waiting…
BBC released a documentary on all of this titled “India’s Daughter”. And they’re being taken to task now.
Times Now, a prime time English News Channel, of the Times group flashes :
“Is it ethical to reveal the identity of Nirbhaya?”
“Is BBC being sensitive by showing the pictures of the victim?”
“Should a rapist be given a platform?”
“Voyeurism or journalism?”
Times of India, a leading English daily in India, from the same Times group, reports with full sensationalism :
“Nirbhaya gang rape convict blames victim for full assault.”
They went on to report that the rapist says if the Government changes the punishment under the law to death row, the rapists will not make an attempt to leave the raped girl alive. These are words spoken by one of the rapists who even after two and a half years of jail, has the audacity to say it all. From inside the jail when on death row.
Most of our media is happily making the BBC journo a scapegoat. The video has been banned. They found someone to blame. They found a new story to sell. They raised burning questions and shouted their lungs out, all in the wrong direction! I am sorry but that is how I feel about things! Wait. I am not even sorry. Thanks to my irritation at the media, I chose to watch the documentary myself to judge!
Yes, it reveals the identity of the victim. She has a name. And it isn’t Nirbhaya. It’s Jyoti Singh. Her name means “light”.
Yes, it shows pictures of the victim. And her parents chose to do that by free will. Who are we to question it?
Yes, it recounts the whole horror of what she had to go through. Of what all us women had to go through when we read those gruesome accounts of the rape that went viral all across the internet within days of December 16, 2012. I still feel nauseated when I think about the pain the lady must have lived through.
So what? Is that what we should really be worried about? What ethics and victim privacy are we talking about? The lady is no more. All her parents have are her memories. The least we could do is honour those. And let her parents get a platform to speak.
I have questions of my own to ask.
- Why are the rapists still alive?
- Why even after two and a half years in jail, the rapists seem to not have even a drop of remorse in their blood?
- Why are we not afraid of the law and instead believ it is our birthright to circumvent the law?
- What has been done to ensure that the juvenile rapist who will be released in December, 2015, has indeed been reformed or not?
- Why do those rapists and many others like them believe that it is their right to tell off girls to where they apparently belong – the household, by raping them and shaming them?
- Why does that rapist say that the girl should have endured it all and not fought back?
- If on death row he can still say that, what would be the extent of vileness in his thoughts if he was out on the roads?
- Why are we worrying more about giving these rapists a platform and less about all those endless rape victims who aren’t being given justice yet?
- Will shoving the video out of sight help to shove the grim mindset aside too?
- Will educated men still believe that women are to be inside the house to be safe, irrespective of our domestic violence data?
- How long before we come out of denial and accept that our society needs to start treating women as fellow human beings?
Each person in India has a right to be defended in the court of law. I’m happy that we’re democratic enough to be giving a chance to these rapists as well. But trust me on this, that when you read what the defending lawyers had to say, your soul will shudder!
“The moment she came out from her house with a boy who was neither her husband nor her brother, she left her morality and reputation as a doctor as well as girl’s morality in the house and she came out just like a woman. A female is just like a flower, it gives a good looking, very softness, performance, pleasant. But on the other hand a man is just like a thorn, strong, tough enough. A flower always needs protection. If that flower is in a gutter, it is spoilt. If you put that flower in a temple it will be worshipped.”
Such crude and filthy thoughts from educated men with professional degrees makes me cringe in horror at how bloody patriarchal and backward the Indian society still is. I feel sorry for the women who live with them and bear with them.
She was a 23 year old bright medical student on her way to fulfil the dreams of her parents and get them out of poverty. What was her fault exactly? That she was a girl? That she tried to build a life for herself? That she had parents who trusted her? That she was independent and fierce? That she was confident? That she fought back?
Jyoti Singh (1989-2012).
Open your eyes, India. You’re half awake. Get out of bed. Whip those sheets off. Open the curtains. The light is out there. See it, embrace it and honour it.