The atrocity of the recent Delhi bus gang-rape incident on the fateful night of December 16, 2012 is beyond utterable words. A 23-year-old paramedical student and her male friend were returning home after watching a movie. After the couple had boarded a bus at about 9.30 p.m, a group of six men started harassing them. When tried to resist, the woman and her friend were beaten with an iron rod. The woman was then gang-raped while the driver kept the bus driving in streets of Delhi. After about an hour of executing this heinous crime, the victim and her friend were then thrown onto the road. At the time of writing this article, the woman and her male friend are still recovering in the hospital. The odious crime stirred public outrage and protest nationwide, demanding justice for the victim, and strict punishment for the perpetrators.
The abhorrent characteristic of this crime is undeniable. On the one hand, the nationwide protest against this loathsome deed is admirable, indicating that we all still respect human dignity. Any act that violates our principles has serious consequences. It is encouraging to me to see such an united response from the public. Even the most apathetic of us, seemed to roll up their sleeves, and took part in the protest by expressing through Facebook statuses and internet forums.
On the other hand, many questions pop up in my mind. Why is it that the public reacted vehemently against this detestable incident? Is it because the details involved are too repugnant? Are not such awful incidents common in India? According to the National Crime Records Bureau, there had been about 25000 rape cases registered in India in 2011. Please note that these are only ‘registered’ cases. Because of the social stigma attached to rape, it is not uncommon that many victims do not come forward to file a police complaint and register a case.
Considering such commonality of rape, is it insensitive to say that the widespread protest against this gruesome rape incident happened only now because the victim belongs to a upper-middle class family, where many of us can relate to, that we take the dreadful act personal, fearing it can happen to any of our sisters or mothers tomorrow? If that is the case, I am alarmed that it finally took an abominable act of a graphic gang-rape in the metropolitan city, to shake people off their indifference, and demand for a more robust justice system, to help our women feel safer.
I pray that the victim recovers soon physically, mentally and emotionally from this horrific trauma. May the love of Jesus Christ touch her heart and heal her wholly. May the victim be bestowed with the power of Christ’s forgiveness, so she totally forgets about the sin committed by the perpetrators, and starts living a normal life. Please join me in this prayer for healing of our sister.
I admit that the system needs to be transformed. There is no doubt that the women in India are still being treated extremely unfairly in many families. There are many other plagues to be eliminated including domestic violence, dowry deaths and so on. If we take an honest look, are not all these plagues result from our depraved hearts? The ‘small’ mistakes that many of us commit in our daily lives are often related to willful acts of negligence, indifference and selfishness. We knew that we did not do the right thing, when we show indifference to these acts, but we just did not have the power to do the ‘right’ thing. In brief, to change the system, we must admit our debased nature and clean ourselves first. Until then, would it be an exaggeration to say that we are only being hypocrites?
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” - Leo Tolstoy