Violence against women has always been rampant in India. However, a startling rise in “revenge rape” has been seen in many Indian villages. The latest victim, Indian police say, is a young girl, 14 years old. The girl was raped at the order of her village’s chief as punishment for her father assaulting another man.
According to the The Independent, Police and relatives say a 14-year-old girl was dragged into a forest and raped on the orders of a village council in remote eastern India in retaliation for a sex assault blamed on her brother. The day before the revenge rape, on July 6, the wife of the man accused of raping the girl was the victim of misbehavior on the part of the girl’s brother. The wife claimed that the brother of the victim had tried to rape her.
The husband of the women went to town elders, who ordered that the suspect’s sister be raped as retribution. The man then took the girl into the woods and brutally raped her for her brother’s wrongdoing.
The revenge rape drew attention from those in support of increased women’s rights in India. One piece of the puzzle is very clear: A young girl was raped viciously by a 25-year-old man from her village due to something a male relative had done in which she had no part in whatsoever. These revenge rapes occur as retribution for other crimes against the family.
Jharkhand police chief Rajiv Kumar told the BBC:
“The head of the village was instrumental in provoking this rape on the victim.”
The mother of the 14-year-old victim told The Independent that she had pleaded with village officials and other villagers who had ordered the rape, but no one listened to her. As a result, her daughter was set to receive her punishment, a vicious rape.
Sexual violence statistics in India are startling, every 22 minutes a woman is sexually assaulted in India and National Crime Records Bureau statistics for 2013 reveal that 24,923 rape cases were reported across the country in 2012. But women’s groups say the figure is much higher because many women are too ashamed to go to the police.
This is not the first rape that has occurred as a punishment for another “crime.” According to the Daily Mail, earlier this year a 20-year-old woman was gang-raped by 13 men in West Bengal on the orders of a village chief after she was accused of having a relationship with a man from a different culture.
Gruesome rapes against small girls is also not uncommon. Two teenage girls were found hanging from a tree in a village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh had been allegedly gang-raped. Sex crimes are also not limited to villages; a woman in India was gang raped by police officers for refusing to pay a bribe.
Fortunately, India’s newly-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month called for action against the country’s rape crisis noting:
“Respecting and protecting women should be the priority of the 1.25 billion people in this country.”
[Image Credit: IBTimes]