Brutal gang rape sparks anger in India

It seems even a male companion isn't enough to protect a woman on a public bus in India.

Police in New Delhi have used water cannon to disperse crowds of people protesting about the gang rape of a young woman on a city bus over the weekend.

The 23-year-old medical student has been left fighting for her life after the attack, in which she was gang-raped by at least four men, brutally bashed, and then thrown out of the bus while it was still moving.

The driver of the bus and three other men have been arrested.

The rape has sparked widespread anger in India, with protests in New Delhi and other major cities including Mumbai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.

Police used water cannon on one group of demonstrators as they tried to tear down steel barricades outside the official residence of Delhi's chief minister Sheila Dikshit.

Before the violence broke out, protesters carrying banners chanted: "We want equal rights for women."

The rape took place over a period of more than 40 minutes on Sunday in a bus which had stopped to pick up the woman and her male companion, who had spent the evening at a cinema.

"They began molesting the girl and her companion bravely fought back trying to save her but these men attacked him with an iron rod," police commissioner Neeraj Kumar said.

"The victim was dragged to the rear of the bus and brutally beaten and raped."

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India is supposed to be democracy ... yet democracy by itself in this instance is clearly not a guarantor of equal rights.  Certainly, India was ahead of of the US in having a female Prime Minister in Indira Gandhi, yet I wonder what steps she took while in office (if any) to advance the cause of women.  Further, what role are islam and hinduism serving to restrain the advancement of equal rights in India?  I'd wager quite a bit.

Still, India is advanced enough and maybe just enlightened enough to be able to sustain a women's movement there ... and maybe then export it, to Bangladesh and Pakistan, for openers.  I hate that it too often takes an incident like this to start something, but at least now that we HAVE the incident, is it possible that someone can run with it and do something truly positive?

Would be nice...

Democracy is never a guarantor of equal rights! Democracy is about majority rules, which means money rules.

I doubt Pakistan has any interest in anything exported from India.  History says they would be more likely to export something into India ... like a weapon of mass destruction.  That part of the world is such a mess, it's hard to say what the next atrocity will be.  However, the incident that is the subject of this article has no doubt happened right here in the US on more than one occasion in history.

When they stop marrying little girls to old men I'll believe them.

This film also shows the deep ingrained sexism - so it's not easy to watch.

Yeah Chris, I don't think I can watch that.

Kallipoe - thanks for sharing that. I was not aware of the ingrained misogyny in the Indian pop music. Appreciate you educating us.

Indian films and Indian music are both disgusting to me. The amount of misogyny in that society is insane and pervades all of the culture, and most of those citizens I've had the experience of knowing or meeting.

No matter how insulting and horrifying a public gang-rape is, the only reason it's in the media is sensationalism. Rapes by family and friends and acquaintances is the main form of rape and gets no attention, not even in our own western countries.

Until media and society stop focussing on the occasional rapes by strangers and starts dealing with the systematic rapes by loved ones, rape statistics do not change, we've demonstrated that with our useless policies in North America.

I dunno.  I think India might be back at a remedial stage, not ready for this sort of discussion.  In most of the west, we can have a discussion about the details of our rape culture and how to deal with the more subtle issues.

Before we can get to that point, in India, we have to establish a solid majority who accept that rape is bad.  I'm not so sure they've got that, yet.  As frustrating as it is, I think this is one of those baby-steps situations.

In How Violent Economic 'Reforms' Contribute to Violence Against Women Vandanna Shiva connects India's rape culture to "growth economy" values.

... the economic model focusing myopically on "growth" begins with violence against women by discounting their contribution to the economy. 

National accounting systems which are used for calculating growth as GDP are based on the assumption that if producers consume what they produce, they do not in fact produce at all...

Hence, all women who produce for their families, children, community and society are treated as "non-productive" and "economically" inactive. When economies are confined to the market place, economic self-sufficiency is perceived as economic deficiency. The devaluation of women's work, and of work done in subsistence economies of the South, is the natural outcome of a production boundary constructed by capitalist patriarchy.

... a model of capitalist patriarchy which excludes women's work and wealth creation in the mind deepens the violence by displacing women from their livelihoods and alienating them from the natural resources on which their livelihoods depend - their land, their forests, their water, their seeds and biodiversity. Economic reforms based on the idea of limitless growth in a limited world can only be maintained by the powerful grabbing the resources of the vulnerable. The resource grab that is essential for "growth" creates a culture of rape - the rape of the earth, of local self-reliant economies, the rape of women.

Yes, that in a nutshell describes most human activity since the advent of modern civilisations, around 3500 years ago. That in essence demonstrates to us the fantastic challenge to feminists the world over, which not a single group of us is nearing accomplishment.

Egalitarians (egalitarian feminists and their allies) focus all their efforts on females achieving male objectives, whereas a true feminist is working at undoing thousands of years of societal power-tripping = patriarchy = religion.

There is so much work to do, and so much of that work is freeing females from that male value system.


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