The US is going to honour the 23-year-old Delhi gang rape victim with the prestigious International Women of Courage Award for inspiring people to fight against gender-based violence. The award is to be given on March 8, International Women’s Day. The incident that triggered nationwide protests has ricocheted across the world and she receives the award posthumously as one of the 10 women from across the world.
While the US says it is going to honour the victim one cannot think of a bigger shame for India. For many, the paramedical student has become symbolic of the way this country treats its women and the violence they face on the streets and at home. While this is extreme and perhaps unfair as it is a skewed look at women here, there is a grain of truth in every stereotype and we cannot escape this one.
Even after large-scale wrath and protests where rage simmered in the Capital, one hears of rape and molestation cases on a regular basis. Maybe the reportage is more widespread in a quick communications age and maybe women are coming forward to report cases. But one cannot escape the fact that far from disappearing, rape cases have not even decreased in number after the numerous campaigns post her death.
A recent report states that Delhi has witnessed around four rape cases a day this year, almost double of last year’s rate. The capital witnessed a total of 181 rapes between January 1 and February 15, Minister of State for Home Affairs Mullappally Ramachandran told Rajya Sabha yesterday. Minds have to change along with laws and police action stepped up to stop this most brutal degradation of women. The US honour shows that the world has its eyes on India — and not for a reason that we should be proud of.