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Violence against women and collective guilt in India

15 148 0
14.12.2019

On November 27, a 27-year-old veterinary doctor was raped, murdered and dumped by the side of a highway in the Indian state of Hyderabad.

A week later I woke to the news that police had shot and killed the four men wanted for her rape and murder. Phones across India lit up with hashtags like #JusticeDelivered. Politicians and celebrities lauded the police for taking justice into their own hands and mainstream media channels ran reels of victory celebrations and hero-worshipping.

I was forwarded a Whatsapp message that read: "Simply shooting them is not justice. They should have been made first impotent then blind, tongueless and so on". This after a week of members of the upper house of Parliament openly discussing castration, lynching and the death penalty as somehow reasonable, valid ways to address rape in India.

Meanwhile, feminist activists tirelessly kept sharing statements and organising protests for the right to a life free of violence for all women in this country and for due process in dealing with perpetrators.

I can not help but reflect on how the voices of those of us who work to end violence against women never get forwarded around in the family Whatsapp groups of our fellow citizens. We are inconvenient voices because we talk about our collective culpability in creating an enabling environment for sexual violence - a rape culture that goes as deep within India as our culture for selective outrage.

To watch........

© Al Jazeera