Watched the documentary India's Daughter, The story of Jyoti Singh Pandey yesterday. The horrors in the film rendered me speechless and sleepless. It took me many hours to compose myself in order to write this.
Her parents were full of joy when she was born. They named her Jyoti - meaning light and were happy despite everyone telling them that it's not a boy. She wanted to be a doctor, build a hospital in her village. Her father sold their ancestral land to pay for her studies although relatives were against it for she is just a female. She told her dad to use the money he saved for her wedding to educate her. She worked at an international call centre from 8 pm to 4 am to support herself financially. She only slept for 3-4 hours every night and juggled between work and studies. On 16th December 2012, she came home, relaxed that her exams were over and assured her parents that happiness and a good life are just several steps away and went out to catch a movie with a male friend. All her efforts and hopes ended when these bastards walked into her life and took everything away from her savagely that fateful night..
The Unacceptable Vindications
The rapist questioning the morality of the girl, "A good girl should not be out of the house at 9.30 pm. Girls should be at home, cooking and cleaning, not being out doing wrong things and wearing the wrong clothes. It takes two hands to clap. A woman is more responsible for rape than a man. She should have just kept quiet and allow the rape, that way we would have just thrown her out after beating her the boy. It's an accident, there are so many rapists out there who have killed their victims but only we got persecuted."
So, Jyoti's crime was being out to watch a movie and working night shifts to put herself through med school makes her not a good girl. So, pulling her entrails out after ramming iron rods into her, throwing her out of the bus and covering up evidence is just an accident. Since there are many rapists out there, who aren't persecuted, his arrest makes it a miscarriage of justice that they got nabbed. That's the exact confidence - that they can do anything to women and escape the court of law. That's the first driving factor, the incipient factor. And, the revelation that there are 250 rape cases incriminating incumbent politicians in pending translates as impunity, corruption, lenient rape laws and money power that can either 'silence', 'harass' or 'finish' victims, their families and witnesses. The latter is exactly why no one stopped for Jyoti and her friend's aid as they lay brutalised and exposed on one of Delhi's busiest roads. And, the fact that the rapist was impenitent after being in jail for 3 years, makes me think what's the point of sustaining him and his confederates' bloody existence.
The rapists' defence lawyers was appalling, to say the least, "She was out on a date with a strange boy. She should have been accompanied by family members (so Saudi Arabic), a girl should not be out of the house after 6.30 pm, bla, bla, bla." In succint the lawyers' opine that Jyoti asked for it. The lawyers are able to put their perspective in a philosophical way, 'a girl is like a flower, diamond, Indian culture is the best culture (when it's shitty culture)", because they are educated but their mentality is no different of the rapists they defend - absolutely gutter and regressive, especially this statement, "A woman means, I immediately put sex in his eyes." His mother ain't a woman? When he sees his mother, immediately sex comes in his eyes? Another lawyer went on to say that he'd set alight his daughter or sister if she engages in premarital activities. Among the other things said by the defense attorneys, I don't know what's worst, the illiterate rapists or the educated lawyers.
It seems they raped Jyoti to teach her a lesson - that a woman should behave like so and so, be submissive around male authority, not fight back, pull her punches around males and basically be their doormat.
And, the families of the rapists either use age old Indian sentiments or circumstantial penury. "I need my son to light up my funeral pyre," "My husband would never do this, if he dies, I'll lose the meaning of life and I would have no choice but to commit suicide. There are many rapists out there, will the police arrest them all? Won't there be no more rapes after this? Why only my husband is prosecuted?" Why? Will the fire on a funeral pyre refuse to burn if a daughter lights it? Are women that dependent on their husband, they have to stick to him after he was declared an evidenced rapist, idolising him in the process and justifying his horrendous crime? And then, the showcasing of the poverty of the rapists, mayhaps to evoke some sympathy for them and justify/dull their crime. Jyoti was poor too and she wanted to rise above it against all odds while her attackers were indulging in fights, alcohol and going to prostitutes. Jyoti's dad was poor and he chose to educate his daughter instead of spending the money on intemperate living. It's about making a choice on what to do with life, not destiny or fate.
Don't do onto others what you won't want others do onto you
Basically, the trauma inflicted on you or the trauma you are born into doesn't give you the right to inflict trauma on others, be it Christian Grey, or the rapists. As humans, we should have conscience. That's what makes us human.
Gender discrimination at the outset in the words of Sheila Dixit is the root cause of crimes against women in India - daughters given less milk and food than sons. The birth of a son is rejoiced but a birth of a daughter is mourned. When a male is constantly subjected to that kind of gender discrimination, that girls are lesser beings than boys and are less important and significant, they tend to develop male entitlement, that they can do anything they want to females and that is the tenor of this case. The lawyers are plainly citing that, a girl shouldn't be out at night, our culture doesn't support male female friendship, she was out on a date and that's unacceptable, justifying the rape and many Indians are supporting such claims fervently. These people would send back girls to the kitchen.
You know what's really scary? This type of mentality is fast imbuing Malaysians like Ridhuan Tee and religious bodies like JAIS.
Here, Kirron Kher makes the perfect comeback in parliament but India needs to have the will to materialize her incumbent implore of Beti Bachao. Beti Padao. So far, it's all rhetoric, much like our very own 1Malaysia.
What really gets to me is the blatant passableness and the cite of tradition and women's place
The six men just snuffed out a bright light out with the indifference of stomping on an ant and it extends to the Indian mentality that a man is superior than a woman. Jyoti went all out to prove that wrong and paid the ultimate price for it, her life. The horrific details in this documentary will stay with me for a very long time. Hope is there though that in Jyoti's wake, many India's daughters would rise up to the occasion.
You fought the good fight India's daughter and like your name may you continue illuminating dark hearts even in death.