It was not a mob or a political group. It was not organized crime to take over something for money. It was a bunch of men, who bullied a girl and her friend, and raped her brutally when she protested, and left her to die.
It has been a year since the gang rape and murder of Jyoti Singh Pandey, the formerly unnamed victim from New Delhi in December last year. The world woke up to the seriousness of women’s safety in India, people took to the streets for justice, and many hearts were filled with resentment, and worse: despair.
The next few months saw attention to hitherto neglected topics in India grow: women’s safety, sexual violence, anti rape laws, feminism (redefined of course, to the Indian context), victim blaming, even marital rape; intersectionality– LGBT rights, social acceptance of female remarriage, sexual harassment at the workplace, molestation, patriarchy, equal pay, women’s health, social responsibility.
This year, for us has been about initiating social reform. The internet is bursting at its seams with voices and opinions, confessionals, complaints, reiterating the reality of what we face as a society. The conversation has begun, and we are a part of it.
To contribute to this conversation, I indulge in keeping up with my most awful tradition: the rape calendar. What started as an angry, desperate measure to make noise about pain is now a log, to keep score and compare.
Please click here for a clear PDF version with working hyperlinks: November 2013 rape planner with links
“Maybe it is because more people are reporting it. Maybe it is because now it is newsworthy and the media are willing to talk about it. Maybe this is actually reduced incidence! Maybe it is giving cynics like me hope…”, I trail off to my Indian feminist community. “You are too young to be cynical. Cynicism is for old hacks like me, who tell off phone companies for being patriarchal jerks when they specifically ask to speak with the man of the house “, say the Indian women who have been fighting the good fight for decades.
And perhaps it is too soon for weariness and despondency, and I am too young for cynicism. It has been a year of conversation and education, but no longer is even nothing piteous because everything is. Suddenly, I am old enough to realize my fatigued spirit. I am old enough for disappointment and sorrow, as I mechanically sort articles about children being raped, and summarize the half a dozen gang rapes reported last month into one liners that fit in my calendar. I am old enough for my emotional burnout, and my desensitized soul and society.
Or as we say, It’s my fault.
Title source: Kaolin’s quotes