delhi-rape-protests-295The father of a 5-year old girl who went missing in New Delhi, India, has been told by police to “thank god that your daughter is alive”.  They also offered him a Rs. 2,000 bribe to keep his mouth shut about the incident.  The little girl was abducted on April 14 and held hostage in the apartment of a neighbor without food or water for 3 days where she was reportedly raped repeatedly.  According to the father, “The police told us that we should not highlight the issue in the media and gave us Rs.2,000 as kharcha-pani (for expenses and refreshment).”  The girl has been hospitalized and has required extensive treatment for infection and surgery for physical damage she received in the rapes.  Reportedly, she was abused with many foreign objects, including candles and bottles, pieces of which had to be removed from her genitals.  Doctors expect her to survive, although they warn that her injuries are still grave.

The two officers who told the father to take his daughter home and pray for her recovery have been suspended for “misbehaving”.  Police initially arrested a man who lived on the first floor of the same apartment building in which the child resided, but now, have arrested a second suspect, described as an accomplice.  The first suspect, Manoj Kumar, told police that there was another man involved

However, this just isn’t uncommon in many parts of India.  Back in December, a 23-year-old medical student was fatally gang-raped on a moving bus, sparking widespread protests across India.  Police were quick to react when this newest swell of public outrage caused a huge number of people to come out in protest, but they simply haven’t reacted well.  There is a case of a police officer who hit a female protester outside the hospital where the girl is being treated.  That officer has been suspended.  “The government makes laws just for the sake of making them, with no intention to stop crimes. None of the laws are implemented, and we see rapes increasing by the day,” said a man protesting outside the police headquarters.  Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the attack “shameful” and said “The gruesome assault on a little girl a few days back reminds us once again of the need to work collectively to root out this sort of depravity from our society.”

The problem is, this is an epidemic in India.  Rapes, especially rapes targeting children, are rampant.  In a recent report, the Asian Center For Human Rights cited statistics that it said showed 48,338 child rape cases reported in India between 2001 and 2011. The report said the number of cases had risen from 2,113 cases in 2001 to 7,112 in 2011.  This is clearly a growing problem.  It’s hard to find a period of time where rapes in India are not widespread.  There’s the recent case of 3 girls that were raped, murdered and dumped into a well and the case of 5 men who gang-raped a Swiss tourist.

While it’s unclear what the central problem here is, Indian men are simply taught from childhood not to respect women.  Some of it us religious.  Some of it is cultural.  All of it needs to change.  Radical feminists talk about a rape culture.  This is a rape culture.  It’s ingrained in the society.  Stop whining about the first world and go point your fingers at the people who actually do engage in the things that you criticize.  Do you want to fight the problems that actually exist, or just the imaginary problems that only exist in your mind and only in your little corner of the planet?  This is an issue, this is an issue that needs to be fixed and I’m glad that the Indian government is at least acknowledging that they have a problem.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure how much they can really do to change it, other than to punish the guilty, which doesn’t help the victims.  You have to change the culture and the fact that there are so many backwoods, highly-religious communities where this attitude has been a fact of life for generations isn’t going to be changed easily.

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