A gangrape in Dombivli, Maharashtra has left the world in shock. It involves a 15-year-old minor girl who suffered brutality at the hands of over 30 men. 30! That count of accused in a single case of rape seems nothing short of surreal. But if anything, it is a serious wake-up call for all of society, particularly India because that number is very real. It is standing proof of how far we have slipped into depravity – a dystopia where women’s safety is a joke and there is sick indifference surrounding it.
As per reports, 33 accused raped a young girl in Dombivli area between January and September this year. The perpetrators the survivor named included two minors as well. A student in the ninth grade, she said she was familiar with almost every person accused of sexually assaulting her. So far, 26 persons have been nabbed with a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the matter. Track updates here.
The alleged gangrape is, unfortunately, not the first such instance of brutal sexual violence against women and girls. Every new day brings at least one headline of a woman being reminded of her gender, ‘her place’ within the trap of patriarchy and being punished for it.
Gangrape In Dombivli: What It Takes To Shock Our Conscience
Still, the gangrape in Dombivli comes as a shocker for its grisly details. The question that should prompt is: Do we sit up to take notice of India’s perennial, persistent rape problem when an exceptional case with exceptional circumstances makes it to public knowledge?
Last month, the country sat by to watch horror unfold in Mysuru where a student on a trip was gangraped and her friend was assaulted by the perpetrators. And then again, when in Mumbai’s Saki Naka a woman was gruesomely raped with a rod inserted in her privates – there was immediate correlation of the case to the 2012 Delhi gangrape.
While these cases got the attention they deserved, so many other rape cases went unattended in their wake.
Reports in 2018 showed 99 percent cases of rape in India go unreported. When is the system rectifying itself to be accessible to and inclusive of more women battling sexual crime experiences alone? Why has the law and order in the country been insufficient and riddled with blindspots as to fail to curb the rape culture over so many years?
Should it have taken a brutal gangrape in Dombivli and the scarring of a minor for life for India to realise its negligence of women’s safety? Is our conscience so desensitised to violence against women that it only jerks awake when 30 criminals come together to dent our complacence? And does it create a dent so hard as to keep the outrage against rape flowing until change comes?
Views expressed are the author’s own.