According to reports, the girl’s mother had sent her to fetch water from the crematorium. No return of the child after more than an hour compelled the parents to explore her whereabouts, her mother found her lying in the crematorium with blue lips, a brutally bruised body, wet clothes, and blood all around her; riddled with shock and grief, she could not comprehend what had happened and the priest with 3 other men (who have been accused of raping the girl) threatened the mother and tried to sow fear in her mind that if she reports this to the police, they will send the girl’s body for an autopsy and the doctors will steal all her organs and sell them, they coerced her into going back to her house and repeatedly insisted that the girl died due to electrocution.
Later on the parents came back with 150 other villagers, but the accused had forcefully set fire to the corpse so as to dodge the possibility of a postmortem.
Till the time the police had arrived only the legs of the victim had survived the forceful cremation, which is not enough to medically explore the possibility of rape, yet the police, on hearing the account of witnesses, has booked the 4 men under charges of rape, murder, and criminal intimidation a case regarding which was registered under Indian Penal Code’s sections 302, 376 and 506, in addition to relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the SC/ST Act.
Hate crimes against women, particularly those belonging to the Dalit community have sky-rocketed. There is neither fear nor apprehension instilled in the grimy brains of the perpetrators of these crimes because the caste factor is often overlooked by everyone; as a matter of fact, it is encouraged to be disregarded deliberately; disregarding with it the miserable conditions of Dalit women in India, similar to how crimes against people from particularly the black community go unnoticed in the U.S.A.
Earlier, only non-consensual penile penetration into the vagina was condemned as rape but ever since the gruesome Nirbhaya Rape Case of 2012 in Delhi, there have been some modifications in the IPC in the context of rape cases wherein :
“A man is said to commit “rape” if he:–– (a) penetrates his penis, to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person; or (b) inserts, to any extent, any object or a part of the body, not being the penis, into the vagina, the urethra or anus of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person; or (c) manipulates any part of the body of a woman so as to cause penetration into the vagina, urethra, anus or any part of the body of such woman or makes her do so with him or any other person; or (d) applies his mouth to the vagina, anus, urethra of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person.”
Yet, even now the only mention of marital rape the Indian penal code has is exclusively when the wife is legally a minor (i.e. under 18 years of age), otherwise, any kind of sexual activity between married couples is not considered illegal, even non-consensual or coercive sexual activities are categorized under domestic violence and not sexual assault or rape. The existence of marital rape is outright denied by the lawmakers of India for the preservation of the so-called sanctity of marriage and marital sex.
It was prophesized by some all-knowing chauvinists that women will be ‘safer’ during the lockdown since the only danger they face is out in the streets, in turn implying that women should always be under lockdowns regardless of the existence of a global health crisis; not surprisingly during the pandemic and nationwide lockdown that followed, crimes against women hit a 21 year high with domestic violence taking centre stage when 2,383 domestic violence complaints were filed between January 2021 and May 2021, most complaints were recorded in Uttar Pradesh while the highest complaint rate was of Delhi.
Almost 30% of these women had been assaulted sexually and with no instant legal or social aid, women stay entrapped in abusive marriages, slowly driving themselves into a perpetual cycle of violence. Women are never safe period; not on the streets, not in markets or malls, not in parks, and certainly not in their OWN homes.
It is just pathological optimism and ignorance on the part of patriarchal lawmakers that equate secrecy to sanctity in marriages and would let thousands of women suffer throughout their lives than recognize the monstrosity of marital violence and rape.
A CRB report states that unemployment, alcoholism, and easy access to their wives were the main drivers of domestic violence and marital rape in married men during the lockdown period; however, this is no manner justifiable of these heinous acts.
Domestic violence and marital rape are century-old social evils that have been normalized and entrenched into systematic patriarchy over time. Most victims of violence get no support from their families and are often asked to ‘adjust’ or ‘wait it out’, further suppressing any urge to seek legal aid.
Capital punishments are not going to get us very far in absolutely eradicating these crimes, the system needs change, women’s positions in the household needs change, and most importantly, patriarchy needs to be abolished, once and for all to bring about some actual transformation in the countrywide condition of women.
Recognising that patriarchy is a common enemy to every person regardless of their gender is extremely crucial. Countless women and even more men do not report sexual assault to prevent any ‘shame’ they might bring to their family and themselves; rape is still considered the Victim’s fault to some extent; marital rape is not considered ‘real’; many people still believe that ‘men can’t be raped’. All of this is intrinsic to the foundation of patriarchy, and that is what needs to be sentenced to death.