Read this article today: ‘India Rape Victim’s Friend Describes Their Love Story‘
I don’t know why I do this to myself. But, I think, what kind of person would I be, if I didn’t even have the courage to read about the sort of pain that these two endured. People my age. Our age. What happened to them was wrong. Not unfair, not unlucky, just plain wrong.
A lot of people say that the men on the bus were monsters. And that they deserve the worst kind of death possible. But, I disagree. I disagree because these men were not monsters, but simply a product of OUR society. A society where even our irresponsible politicians irresponsibly throw around the words that even the rapists that night picked up on. “Why are you out alone at night?” “Why are you alone with a boy?”
It’s the sick sort of mentality that pervades our society. ‘If she can be with him, why not with me?’ It’s the attitudes of a million mothers when they justify their son’s uncouth, uncivilized behavior by saying, ‘If she was dressed that way/out at that time/with a boy without being married, she should have expected that.’ It’s a society where female nurses commiserate with new-parents over the birth of girl-children. The society where the boy gets the best, because he is the boy, no matter how much of an ass he might be as a person. The society where a woman has to keep her head down, cook food, and produce children. A society where a man has no incentive to be decent even to find a wife, because his maa will find him a rishta.
This is the society that raped her. The society that got so infuriated that a woman dared to tell those men to back off, and not touch her. The society that retaliated to a bite on the arm in the middle of aggravated sexual assault by using the iron rod in what would be a laughable demonstration of their own insecurities, were it not so horrible, brutal and tragic.
Men of India who rape, women of India who condone it, where is this coming from? What kind of culture permits you to be this way? It’s disgusting. It’s revolting. And it has gone on for far too long.
That’s why I’m still following this case. Because, it breaks my heart every single time I learn anything new about them. The fact that she was a petite 23 yr old who held hands with a boy she called ‘The Perfect Man’. The fact that he insisted they stay back at the mall for just a few more minutes, but she was in a hurry to return home. The fact that the kid, the juvenile who penetrated her with an iron rod moments after, first called her Didi (elder sister) to entice the couple on to the bus. If what I need to keep this rage alive is to have my heart broken again and again by the same shameful incident, then so be it. Because, it is not the six men alone who brutalized this girl as old as me, and a Million times braver; It was our society. MY society. And, in the middle of all the shame, rage and guilt, it is her determination to live, on her terms, that I cling on to.
As educated citizens of this society of ever-growing filth, it is our responsibility to never turn away. And I won’t. I swear it, Sister.
I want to say, ‘Don’t rest in peace. Haunt us. I know you’ve done more than anyone should ever have had to. But, do this too. Don’t leave us in peace until we’ve fixed this. Invade our dreams, and turn them all into nightmares, so that no one can dare forget the cost of this fight, nor its value.’ But, on the eve before her final cardiac arrest that left her brain dead, she signaled to her family, signaled because they had hurt her so bad that she couldn’t even speak, that she was going to heaven. On Christmas. So, instead, all I have to say is that I hope you made it. And, that you don’t have to worry about us. Things will Change. I swear it. And, when they do, I hope we have the decency to remember you. Not as a nameless rape victim, but someone so full of life, someone who fought back so hard, someone so determined to live, that she shamed the rest of us into a rage fueled reaction. Late, and selfish, but a reaction nonetheless.
So, I guess what I’m really trying to say is.. Sorry. And, thank you. ♥