Indian Rape Puts Focus on Female Oppression

The New Delhi incident underscores patriarchal societies’ need for new reforms to ensure greater rights for women.

The gruesome New Delhi medical student rape incident that occurred last December has sparked tremendous international attention. Learning of the horrendous details that entailed a young woman being severely beaten with a metal rod, raped multiple times, then mutilated, left many in utter disgust and indignant for the level of atrocity committed against an innocent civilian. It was pitiful that the life of a 23-year-old medical student, just barely beginning that path to an enriching life only a small portion of Indian women are privileged to experience, was stopped short by an unexpected calamity.

Tragically, in India, as well as in numerous other nations around the world, incidents of females being victimized are far from unusual. Women are still treated as significantly lesser beings, and their rights are rarely protected. Because of a culture that displays a preference for sons, the abortion of female fetuses, neglect of girls, rape and kidnapping of women run rampant. In 2011, the number of women raped in India rose by 9.2 percent and kidnapping and abduction of women increased 19.4 percent.

The sexually harassed women and girls, deserving of sympathy and further protection, are not only ignored by the majority of India’s court system and police force, but even by their own family members who pressure them not to press charges. In a normal course, a girl’s rape case to be taken up by the court can take up to 10, 12, even  14 years.

As one who has grown up breathing liberty and having American rights drilled into my head in the course of my upbringings, I found it difficult to comprehend that male-dominated society to this degree could still persist in the 21st century. That such injustice could run completely unchecked was frustrating.

It is clear India must come to realization that times have certainly changed and their anachronistic ideals must be put aside in order for the nation to progress socially and ethically. This also calls for a modification in their justice system, so that victims of rape and other sexual offenses can quickly receive trial and offenders are punished at appropriate measures, not unjustly shielded by the corrupt male-dominant system. It is simply irrational to oppress females, who account for virtually half of the world’s population.

As for us, living in one of the privileged countries on earth, we must realize we are not only citizens of our local town, the state, or even the nation, but that we are also part of the international community, which gives us the burden to make right the injustices that prevail.

Thanks to modern day technology and our ability to immediately  connect with the world at a global scale using social networking, news in obscure parts of the world, once hidden from the public eye, is gaining rapid notice. Therefore, we could join in the arduous fight for combatting such unimaginable wrongdoings, simply by using what we are most familiar with—the Internet and social network. If more people publicize this issue regarding female repression, we can pressure nations such as India to follow  our steps and hopefully, grant greater rights for women.