Thursday, June 12, 2014

India: UN Secretary-General Appeals to Capital to Get Tough on Wholesale Rape of Mothers of Tomorrow

According to The Gulf Times, when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently spoke of his horror of a brutal rape and killing of two teenage girls in Uttar Pradesh, it represented another "ringing" of the bell on a nation plagued with institutionalized debauchery on girls and young women of all ages, simply because they are viewed as second-class citizens.

Ban Ki-moon’s outrage was the second occasion in 18 months that he lashed out at India which has faced the wrath of media for not doing enough to protect its female citizens.

The UN chief has been urging India to take drastic action against those committing deadly sexual violence against women and task it to implement stringent preventive measures in light of some of the most sickening incidents.

Last week, two girls aged 12 and 14, were brutally raped and strangled with their bodies left hanging from a tree in Badaun district of Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state. 

Ban Ki-moon’s earlier call for New Delhi to protect women came in December 2012 after a 23-year-old medical student sustained serious injuries, and eventually died, from being gang-raped on a public bus in the capital before being thrown onto the roadway and left for dead.

She died two weeks later after being flown to Singapore for treatment to injuries, described by doctors as the worst treatment of person in their medical careers.

COMMENT: Growing sexual crimes against girls and women is the single most issue divisive issue vocalized by an Indian public frightened to let their wives and daughters out alone, particularly after dusk.

In the case of the two teenage girls who were not only gang-raped, but hanged until dead, their only offense was leaving their home to relieve themselves, considering that only 30% of Indian homes have indoor plumbing.

 The assailants in the Badaun incident, included two police officers, who were no different than the animal kingdom, operating solely from instinct.

In the meantime, Indian politicians are no different than those in the US. They function not out of serving those who voted for them, but rather their own self-interests, selfishness and perceptions of grandeur.

There is never a day that goes by without Indian media reporting on rapes and fatal attacks on women. Yet, at least the media is fulfilling its role to speak for victims in the absence politicians who genuinely search for solutions.

The capital of New Delhi, sadly, has long been accused as the rape epicenter of India. Hardly, something to be proud of.

Several months ago a state-owned company came up with the idea for a handgun designed specifically for women. The downside? It cost nearly US$2,000, well beyond the pocket-book of 90% of most Indian women. Worse, there was no integration of mandatory firearms training, certification and licensing. As a result, the badly-conceived nation evaporated like water.

I continue to emphasize that it is very moot as to what rape and gang-rape statistics reveal in India, but rather all of the youthful lives that are tainted forever when a young girl or woman is forcibly raped.

The real tragedy is that only one in ten forcible rapes are ever reported in a nation of 1.3 billion. Worse, the police, culpable as ever, are often assailants in the very crimes they are sworn to protect.

Sexual attacks on Western women do little to boost India’s image as a cultural center. internationally. Neither do reports of low conviction rates of rape cases in a country where the Indian judiciary system is notoriously inept and the attitude of society and police towards rape victims is elusive.

True, the penal code has been upgraded to include more vigorous sentences for rapists and gang-rapists, the latter category being viewed as a "coming of age" entitlement.

I firmly believe that until such time as the respect of women is viewed equally as it is for men, little will change until such time as Indian boys and men are socialized from the earliest age.

Additionally, new enlightened leadership is essential to modifying the Indian Police Service as it currently exists. Only until such time as police who commit sexual crimes are sent to prison and formally stripped of their responsibilities can India even begin to make a dent in sex crimes.

Moreover, it is India's outdated caste system that encourages an entitlement belief system that has proved to be an accessory to those on the low-end of the system being treated as sub-human.

Tragically, most sexual crime solutions are an "after-thought" rather than being an integrated component of a comprehensive program that crosses legal, cultural and sociological frameworks of society.

Movie star Vidyut Jamwal, a black-belt holder, has been conducting regular self-defense classes for women in India’s commercial capital of Mumbai for more than a year and set up a martial arts school in southern India designed specifically for females.

As with most initiatives in India, such an approach, while helpful, is NOT a component of a national comprehensive rape awareness effort, but rather a standalone "piece" that fails to have bipartisan support at all levels of government.

Another message-point that seems to have been missed by most Indian politicians, is that according to UK-based THE TELEGRAPH, a survey by Indian chambers of commerce has revealed that a 35% decline in the numbers of female foreign tourists since a a young medical student, 23, was raped and murdered in December 2012, by six gang-rapists on a moving public Delhi bus before she was dumped on the road and left to die.  

Of 1,200 tourist businesses surveyed, more than 70% reported significant numbers of cancellations from British, US, Australian and Canadian women tourists, and a 25% decline over all.