“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are affected”- Benjamin Franklin
I remember like yesterday the morning of December 17, 2012; the cold and unforgiving morning of Delhi. The newspaper headlines shook the city awake which should ideally have risen from its deep slumber way back. It took six men (one of those was apparently just a boy), a moving bus, and an iron rod along with God knows what all tools to rape and tear apart a hapless 23-year-old who has since become “Nirbhaya”- The Fearless.
What surprised me and still surprises me is: It takes this level of brutality to finally stand together against criminals of the lowest order. One and only slight solace from a tragedy of one family was that it finally outraged the “Unaffected”. But are we really the unaffected I wonder. We all (especially the women) have been subjected to some sort of sexual offence in varying degrees at some point of time which makes us the affected party as well and disgusting truth is that somewhere down the line we have accepted these instances as part of our lives. But for the sake of clarity, let us assume that other than the victim and her immediate family & friends, all of us are the unaffected ones and this gruesome incident shook us to the core so much so that some of us started demanding horrifying punishments ranging from public hanging, castration so on and so forth. We all (I included) kept on screaming for some time questioning the impotency of judicial system, insensitivity of the police and the worthlessness of our political system. Screams get tired and faded after sometime and it takes instances like yet another rape or reminders like judgments from different courts to revive our latent anger and the cycle of should be’s and shouldn’t be’s begin again.
Other than this justified outrage a lot of us were also shocked at responses from the accused. While talking to Leslee Udwin who was filming a documentary on the same subject titled ‘India’s Daughter’, one of the accused claimed that if only the victim did not fight back, they would have graciously left her alive. Fight for dignity proved fatal for the girl. Another accused claimed that by going out so late at night the girls themselves invite Molesters. What makes me hopeless is that if we all try very hard, we may still improve the judiciary, the police and even the political system but how the hell are we going to change the way some (sadly impressive number) people think about and treat women.
It has been more than four years since she died, one of the accused decided to take his own pathetic life, four out of six accused are still alive although jailed and one of the accused who was supposedly just a boy moves free. There were many voices who spoke in favor of that boy who walked free, claiming he was gullible and under influence of his adult accomplices. In words of Terry Goodkind- In words of Terry Goodkind- “ Pity for the guilty is treason to the innocent”. I wish we all could have stood together by the innocent this time around. Sadly we can not question, neither we are equipped to change the laws which allow such criminals to walk out free and lead a normal life.
One saving grace in the entire episode has been that the Supreme Court has upheld death sentence for the remaining four accused. People are saying that justice has been served although delayed. I honestly do not think this qualifies as justice. I do not know what should be justice in this case but this judgment of hanging the four accused does not sound or feel like justice. The kind of trauma she went through and the kind of pain her family is still going through, closure is hard to find. We can only hope that this outrage ignited at the cost of her life never settles down. I pray we all are better than ourselves tomorrow than we were yesterday.