In December of 2012, a 23-year-old woman got on an off-duty bus in India with a male friend. Six men aboard the bus subsequently beat her friend, and after he was incapacitated, gang raped her. After each man assaulted her, they beat her with an iron instrument, which resulted in internal injuries so severe she passed away. 

Leslee Udwin, reporting for BBC, went to Delhi to document the case and interviewed one of the rapists, Mukesh Singh. He was the driver of the bus and claims that, despite what the prosecution claims, he drove the bus for the entirety of the attack. He is appealing his death sentence along with three of the other attackers.

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Throughout 16 hours of interviews, Singh showed zero remorse and saw the rape as a “fuss” that has been blow out of proportion. He assumed that the woman must have deserved it since, “A decent girl won't roam around at nine o'clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy.”

According to Singh “only twenty percent of girls are good” and the bad ones deserved to be taught a lesson, and should not fight back against their 'teachers.'

“When being raped, she shouldn't fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they'd have dropped her off after 'doing her', and only hit the boy," he said. He thinks that by allowing himself and the other men to be killed, it will only encourage rapists to kill their victims rather than leaving them alive.

 

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Another one of the men interviewed by Udwin raped a five-year-old girl. They spoke for three hours as he described how he muffled the young girls screams with his hand, a girl that only came up to his knees.

He, like Singh and others, showed no sympathy for his victim and puzzlement regarding the moral repercussions of his actions. "She was beggar girl. Her life was of no value."

The social and cultural value of women is an increasingly dire issue in this country. India is a democratic nation, they have equal rights for women in their Constitution, and they have elected a female into their highest office while we in the United States have failed to do so. The problem is changing the gender mindset, especially in rural areas. As long as women are not shown to have a place in the their own culture without the presence of a man, they will continue to be treated like a commodity.

Women in India have taken a massive stance against the internalized sexism in their country. They battled a freezing December and governmental attempts to silence their outrage by means of water cannons, baton charges, and teargas shells. Despite the hardship, women in India are marching, protesting, and braving the elements for their fundamental human rights and to prove to the world that they will be heard. 

Udwin's film, India's Daughter, premieres Sunday, March 8th, on BBC. 

 

Images c/o BBC & AP Photo/Altaf Qadri

Princess Weekes is a part-time bookseller and a full-time writer with a Master’s in English from Brooklyn College. A former intern at BUST magazine, she has since written articles for The Mary Sue, BUST and maintains her own video channel under the name Melina Pendulum, discussing the intersection of pop culture, feminism and race. She is currently working on a fantasy novel about black witches during the Jim Crow era, while attempting to purchase every liquid lipstick the world has to offer.

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