A 22 year old Indian photojournalist was gang raped while her male colleague was tied up in the India city of Mumbai.
The incident said to be similar to that of last December’s gang rape of a university student which went on to shock the nation has once again gone to foster a discussion why the disturbing trend is so prevalent.
The attack is said to have taken place in an abandoned textile mill in Lower Parel, a gritty former industrial district that is now one of the city’s fastest-growing neighborhoods of luxury apartments, malls and bars.
Local sources go on to tell that the woman was working on an assignment with a male colleague to take pictures of the factory when five men confronted the pair.
After initially offering to help her get permission to shoot inside the building, they became aggressive and accused the male colleague of being involved in a local crime.
When he denied any involvement they tied his hands with a belt and took the woman to another part of the building compound and took turns raping her, went on to tell Mumbai’s Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh.
Authorities have already arrested one suspect who has since named and identified the other four.
The latest rape underscores the government’s enactment of a recent stringent law increasing prison terms for rape and making voyeurism, stalking, acid attacks and the trafficking of women punishable under criminal law.
The trials of the four men and one juvenile involved in last Decemeber’s incident is set to conclude within the next three weeks.
The UK’s dailymail goes on to note that in contrast to Delhi, Mumbai has long been considered a safer place for women to travel alone, even at night.
Told A. L. Sharada, director of Population First, an NGO that works on women’s rights issues:
‘(Mumbai) has this sense of security … but these things make us feel that maybe we are not really that safe,’ said A. L. Sharada, director of Population First, an NGO that works on women’s rights issues.
‘Women should be able to move freely and take up work. Why should we be worrying about something bad happening to us all the time?’
The BBC goes on to report that the woman was admitted to Jaslok hospital in Mumbai where she was said to be stable and able to speak.
Told a hospital statement: “She went through a minor investigation procedure today [Friday] morning. She had both internal and external injuries.”
The latest gang rape has led to an onslaught of protests across the country where once again a consideration of gender and equality rights is being raised in a nation that has a history and an ongoing entrenched culture of disenfranchising women. Not that many men seem to be too willing to listen or necessarily respect…
Reflected one commentator on the web: The onus is on the systematic failure on the part of the Indian legal system–one where justice is often delayed, subverted and too lenient. More and more opportunists are taking advantage of the total breakdown of law and order in India; be it slow investigations, incomplete and inept evidence gathering, loopholes in the law, long drawn out court trials etc. Unless there is SWIFT action and SEVERE punishment against the rapists, there will be not be any fear among these criminals, and we will continue to read about horrific stories like this.