A horrific crime that shocked India and sparked violent protests has gotten even more shocking. A woman who was gang raped so severly that she received severe organ damage has died. The unidentified woman, who was 23, was riding on a bus with a male friend after seeing a movie when six men attacked them, and gang raped the woman and inserted a metal rod into the woman's body. She and the man were then stripped and thrown off the bus. The woman received brain damage and internal injuries. In India, rape often goes unreported because women are blamed for it. This case so shocked the nation that thousands have been protesting since it happened, demanding better protection for women.
After the attack, the woman was flown to a hospital in Singapore, but her condition worsened. She has since died.
India rarely sees protests of this magnitude, and there are hardly ever debates about women's rights or protecting women from sexual predators. Rape is considered "shameful" to a woman and her family and she bears the brunt of the "blame" for it, so rapes normally go unreported.
The protests got so violent that police had been called on them to control the crowds. Due to this latest news that the woman had died, areas around government offices were cordoned off, but thousands still came out to protest.
Rapes, dowry-related deaths, and the murder of female infants is still common in India but rarely discussed. The tragic case of this female victim is changing that.
Sonia Gandi, a powerful Indian politician, said:
Your voice has been heard. It deepens our determination to battle the pervasive and the shameful social attitudes that allow men to rape and molest women with such impunity.
I certainly hope this poor woman's fate doesn't end up being for nothing. I've traveled to India in the past, and enjoyed the country and its people. But I was definitely struck by the poverty -- at one point, I saw a woman breastfeeding an infant in a small shandy town surrounded by a garbage pile, where she apparently lived with a bunch of other small children. I crawled over an embankment to get to her and handed her all of the money I had. She just stared at me. There was a dead look in her eyes. I think she'd lost all touch with reality and didn't quite understand what had just happened. It was heartbreaking.
May this poor woman rest in peace and may India continue to progress in women's rights.
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