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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 8/8/13

India's Braveheart

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Message Thelma Mueller

I wrote this article for another site at a time when emotions were running high and the world stood still in shock over an unbelievable crime. India's Braveheart, as they choose to call her, was a young 23-year-old woman who had everything going for her but it came to a sudden halt when six men decided that her life was beneath them and took what they wanted with brutal force and left her to die of her wounds. It was a horrific crime that sent shock waves around the world at the sheer animalistic behaviour of the men.

Here's what happened to a young woman on December 16, 2012 and in case you've forgotten and she has just become another tragic statistic, like all the other victims before her, here's a reminder that it wasn't so long ago when she walked and lived amongst us.

India's Braveheart was a young 23-year-old woman whose only crime if you can call it that was to want a fun night out with her boyfriend. The couple went to the mall to see a film and afterwards decided to take the bus home. They climbed aboard a private bus thinking that it would take them home. Instead, they found themselves at the mercy of six men. For one of the victims, it would be a journey to death and for the other, a lifetime of terror, anger and unforgettable memories.

The victim, a young paramedic student was gang raped on December 16, 2012 in a moving bus by six men, among them a minor. The men took turns raping her and assaulted her with an iron rod leaving her with severe intestinal injuries before they threw her out of the moving bus along with her friend. Her male friend was also beaten but his injuries were not life-threatening. The young medical student who was said to be hardworking and wanted a brighter future succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead on 29 th December, 2012 in Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital after twelve days of courageously fighting for her life. Dr Kevin Loh of Mount Elizabeth Hospital issued this statement saying, "She was conscious and fought a brave fight till the last." A nation stood up in outrage and demanded justice as the world looked on in disgust, anger and sadness.

Of the six men who brutally raped and tortured the young woman, it was reported that the youngest was the cruelest. According to The Hindustan Times, it reported that the juvenile pulled her intestines out with his hands while assaulting her. The trial will take place in a fast track court but it has come to light that the youngest member of the gang-rape team will be tried in juvenile court, adding insult to injury. The father of the victim is calling for "death by hanging" saying "the death penalty is compulsory for a crime so great."

In an interview with BBC, the father of the victim revealed how his daughter was adamant about wanting to lift the family from poverty. He said, "She wanted to be a doctor and said it was only a matter of a few years and that when she was a doctor (all our suffering) it will end." That dream will never come true because six men decided to end her life in such a brutal fashion.

It has been months since her death and the promise that this case will go through the "fast track court' has seen little or any progress on that front. Instead, there has been a deafening silence that speaks volumes. Did she get the justice she deserved or is she just another forgotten statistic in a country where gender-based violence is getting worse and worse. Here are India's statistics on violence against women. Official figures state that 228,650 violent crimes were perpetuated against women just last year alone in the Indian capital and it is rising at an alarming rate. If this number is mind-boggling, it is. Geeta Ram from Bengaluru put it this way. "In India, rapists act with impunity as they know they can get away with their crime. Unless laws are strengthened to punish wrong-doers and justice is delivered speedily this crime will continue unchecked."

What has happened since Braveheart's case went to court? Has "speedy justice' been served? If so, what was the outcome? Coming back to the woman known as "Braveheart,' her life came to a screeching halt on that December 16 th evening when six men deemed her as "unworthy' and decided to put an end to her life for a few minutes of animalistic fun. Have all the protests, anger and petitions been in vain, or more specifically, was her death in vain with nothing much really changing as far as women are concerned in India? What do you think?

Protests at India Gate
Protests at India Gate
(Image by (From Wikimedia) ramesh_lalwani, Author: ramesh_lalwani)
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Protests at India Gate by Wikipedia

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Thelma Mueller is a writer residing in Germany but has lived in Asia and America for many years. She writes for an international online magazine daily and has published short stories, a children's book and is currently working on a novel. Her (more...)

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