Indian gang rape: governments need to show more attention to women’s rights

Liza Magill, Opinions Editor

Halfway around the world in New Delhi, a 23-year old Indian woman was severely beaten, raped, and left on the side of the road on December 16. The woman died six days later in Singapore hospital because of health complications. This devastating tragedy makes it imperative for the Indian government, and governments around the world, to start taking women’s rights and safety seriously.

Rape is common in India. In New Delhi alone, there were more than 600 cases in 2012, continuing the tenfold increase over the past 40 years. The National Crime Record Bureau reports that someone is raped every 22 minutes in the country.

But this rape case caught the attention of thousands within India and around the world because of the case’s neglect at first. The main victim’s friend, also raped, reported that the pair stayed by the roadside for 30 minutes before a passerby called the police. Even when the police arrived, local residents told the Associated Press that the police argued for almost thirty minutes before moving the friends––the victim’s brother stated that this delay may have led to complications that led to his sister’s death.

Al Jazeera English

Now, almost three weeks later, thousands have showed their solidarity to this 23-year old woman by joining protests throughout India in Delhi. In one specific protest, 4,000 people gathered at the Jantar Manga observatory to fight for women’s rights.

After other rape cases since the incident, such as a Pakistani gang rape of a nine-year-old girl and a beating and rape of a 21-year old woman by a police officer in Nepal, have caused thousands of other women in these countries and across the region to join in candlelight vigils and other protests for the safety and protection of women in their countries.

While these women have fought through such protests, little has come of their plight so far. This increase of activism only further protests and women’s rights activities that have been going on for years, yet we still see the increase in rape cases and women’s violence in India and elsewhere in the region. Men still are often not prosecuted for their crimes and there are millions of cases that are never taken by the Indian government.

Governments need to start taking women’s rights seriously around the world. As quoted by the Independent: “In so many situations where women were previously told to put up and shut up, they are now standing up regardless, and finding thousands of others standing alongside them.” Women are becoming a powerful force in the international community and governments need to start taking them seriously, or these safety protests could become political protests that enact more change than governments anticipate.

Through social media, women have become more desperate; some even have even called for capital punishment and castration of men accused of rape. These pleads represent the fear of these women that governments don’t take their achievable demands seriously––women’s rights has gone so downhill that only extreme measures will keep women safe. It is time for change. It is time to keep women safe around the world and hold men accountable for their actions.