Five Year Old Indian Girl Kidnapped, Sexually Assaulted and Left For Dead

26 Apr

Trigger warning for rape, sexual assault, abduction, torture and murder.

A reader from India asked me to blog about this at the end of last week. At the time, I told her that I was feeling burned out, but promised to write about it on Monday or Tuesday. I’ve been procrastinating, though. As much as I know that this is something that’s important to talk about, I’ve had a hard time bringing myself to read about it, let alone write about it.

But I promised that I would. And it’s important. So let’s do this.

In India, a five-year-old girl was kidnapped, raped, tortured and left for dead.

She was held captive for four days.

Her parents say that the police ignored their reports that their daughter was missing.

Her parents say that the police offered them money to keep quiet about their daughter’s rape.

She is now in critical condition in the hospital.

She’s five.

When I was five, my biggest upsets in life were that I couldn’t wear my party dresses to kindergarten and that I wasn’t allowed to have chocolate milk with every meal.

And, you know, here I sit in my privilege saying that I’m too burned out to read her story, that it’s too hard for me to write about.

Of course, for other people, other women, this type of story is the daily reality that they have to live with. They don’t have the ability to tune out and think about other things the way I do.

This girl, this five year old girl, is fighting for her life, in part because the police weren’t terribly interested in finding her. Because she’s just a girl. Because she’s disposable. Because she was born in a country where sex-selective abortion is so common that, in some provinces, 126 males are born for every 100 females.

This, on the heels of the brutal gang rape in India that happened back in December. In that case, the victim wasn’t so lucky – she died of her wounds several days after her attack. The most brutal of her rapists, who was sixteen years old, received a sentence of only three years in a “reform home” because of his status as a minor.

This, in conjunction with another breaking story about a five year old Indian girl who was raped and murdered.

And yet another breaking story about a thirteen year old Indian girl who was gang-raped.

And a story about a six year old Indian girl who was raped.

And a story about eleven and thirteen year old sisters who were raped by their mother’s boyfriend.

All of these rapes happened within a week’s span. All of this is in just one country. And these are just a few select stories I pulled – there are more, so many more. Not just in India, but everywhere.

There are people who want to dismiss this as a problem with the way that Indian culture treats women. There are people who say that, sure, this type of thing happens over there, but it would never happen here. Maybe India has a culture of rape, but here in the West we sure don’t.

But, of course, we do.

Rape culture knows no borders, and while it might be worse or more obvious in certain parts of the world, the truth is that it’s everywhere. We all live in it. We all participate in it.

In fact, just today, a university student in Arizona was photographed holding a sign that said, “You Deserve Rape.” This man, Dean Saxton, is well-known for delivering “inflammatory sermons” on the University of Arizona campus. Today’s sermon was about how women who dress like “whores” are responsible for being raped or assaulted.

It just seems so relentless. Every day there’s a new story of some kind of horrific sexual assault, every day I hear about police and politicians who don’t care, every day there are men and women spreading the message that rape is somehow the victims fault. It just feels like it never ends, and it’s sometimes so hard to keep fighting in the face of something that’s so unbelievably pervasive and overwhelming.

But we need to keep fighting. That much is obvious.

I want to share with you guys the message that my reader sent me, because her words are more powerful than anything that I can come up with right now:

The last time it happened, I signed petitions with friends for severe punishment to those rapists who raped a 23 year old, I wrote articles, protested, debated. But the second case, that happened just yesterday has shattered me so much I seem to have lost my voice In India, we all protest and then our voices just die down. No kind of internal pressure makes the government take strict decisions. Rather, in the December 2012 case, a religious leader came up with the hideous statement that had the girl begged for her life from the rapists and called them her brothers, they would have stopped and she would have survived. One of the leading female politicians said, “Women shouldn’t go out after 9 at night or dress provocatively.” We scream, we shout and the police bashes up innocent protesters and social workers and students. Our voices die down within the country and awareness is blindfolded by our own leaders.

I am writing to you to beg you to talk about these women just like you talk about those who are close to home. Perhaps international pressure and shouts for justice would reach the deaf ears of our religious and political leaders and the pathetic, perverse men who don’t think twice before doing this to us women. Why should we dress modestly? Clothes provoke them, no clothes provoke them, we get raped in a sari, in jeans, in skirts, in salwaar kammeez and even if only our face shows. We get raped in the morning and at nights. If they can’t control their desires after 9, shouldn’t the men be locked up after 9? A lot of people blame the victim back home and not the criminal. How is that fair? 

Indian women today are aware, enlightened and educated but far from safe. We are scared to go out and work and we’re scared to stay inside. Who knows what familiar face would be the Big Bad Wolf? And he strikes us at any age, at 23, at 45, at 5! 

So as a woman to another, this is a plea to support our protest because even though we may speak different tongues and belong to different nations, we suffer the same abuses. 

Please raise your voice. Help spread the word about this. Join us in this fight. Because together, we are much stronger. Together, we can beat this.

We have to.

A few inspiring images from the protests in India:

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44 Responses to “Five Year Old Indian Girl Kidnapped, Sexually Assaulted and Left For Dead”

  1. lizhawksworth April 26, 2013 at 1:27 am #

    Holy shit. I feel so sick. Wow. Wow. Rape fucking culture, I just can’t.

  2. unsolicitedtidbits April 26, 2013 at 2:03 am #

    Thank you for blogging this!

  3. Kate Lighton April 26, 2013 at 3:28 am #

    Thank you for sharing this! Something we all need to read. So sad.

    • bellejarblog April 27, 2013 at 1:21 am #

      Thank you for taking the time to read it. It’s so awful but so necessary.

  4. Antoinette April 26, 2013 at 4:08 am #

    I have been following you for the last week and have shared almost every post. Thanks for your honest voice.

    • bellejarblog April 27, 2013 at 1:22 am #

      Whoa! That is super flattering, thank you! And thank you for reading.

  5. margosnotebook April 26, 2013 at 4:39 am #

    Thank-you for writing about this. It can only be hoped that in time enough voices will make so much noise it must be addressed. Like you I am overwhelmed with how prevalent this is. I cannot even begin to imagine the horror that poor little five year old girl went through. The penalties have to be harder but education needs to come from the top.

    • bellejarblog April 27, 2013 at 1:45 am #

      Yes, agreed. Uniting and raising our voices together is the best thing we can do. That, and helping sponsoring education about rape prevention.

  6. TriDevi Diva April 26, 2013 at 4:54 am #

    Reblogged this on My Life. So Far. and commented:
    I couldn’t have said this better myself. We need to take a stand against this. It is NOT the victims’ fault ever. How is a five year old girl responsible for being attacked like this? I’ll tell you how. She IS NOT! None one deserves this type of brutal violation. We need to end this.

    • bellejarblog April 27, 2013 at 1:45 am #

      Yes! We do!

      • TriDevi Diva April 27, 2013 at 3:38 am #

        Thank you for such a well written and inspiring post. It really resonated with me.

  7. Sanah April 26, 2013 at 5:34 am #

    I’m ashamed to call myself an Indian. Even though rape exists in other parts of the world but in Iran, rapists are lashed and hung in public. What does India do? Fuck nothing.

    • bellejarblog April 27, 2013 at 1:47 am #

      Oh man, please don’t be ashamed! Politicians and police everywhere treat rape victims terribly. Here in Canada there are plenty of times when the police don’t do anything about it.

      The fact that these cases are getting media attention is, I think, a huge step in the right direction. At least the problem is being talked about now, right?

  8. annesquared April 26, 2013 at 5:48 am #

    It is heartbreaking. Sadly the percentage of enlightened educated women in India are few compared to the overall population, and are the younger generation. Many younger men and women have immigrated to other countries because of the overall quality of life there. The society, as a whole, enforces the outlawed caste system, which prevents education and advancement to people simply by virtue of the family they are born into. What is encouraging, is that we are hearing these stories, upsetting as they may be. People are finally coming forward and speaking out. This part of their life has been hidden and secret, something no one has wanted the rest of the world to know.

    Thank you for finding the strength to bring the story forward. The war is on many fronts and we don’t always recognize the enemy.

    • bellejarblog April 27, 2013 at 1:49 am #

      “What is encouraging, is that we are hearing these stories, upsetting as they may be. People are finally coming forward and speaking out. This part of their life has been hidden and secret, something no one has wanted the rest of the world to know.”

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there. This is the only good thing – that people are starting to come forward, that the media is starting to tell these stories.

      And man, I had to write about this. After receiving that message, there was no way that I could NOT write about this, you know?

      • annesquared April 27, 2013 at 6:48 am #

        I understand. I am very glad you told this story. You are an inspiration to me.
        I have known about this for many years. But I was given a rare glimpse inside a very closed and complex culture – secrets whispered over several years, in confidence. I have been trying to locate my friend to get her permission to tell her brave story – but I don’t know if she is still in the US or returned to India.
        And then there is my daughter’s story. I am still working up to that 😥

  9. Igirit April 26, 2013 at 6:22 am #

    They found a bottle of oil and candles insides that poor miserable little girl. This is not sexual depravity- not something that can be dealt with only by more stringent laws and effective enforcement. It’s brutality of the basest and most disgusting kind- and I am beginning to wonder if there is more to the motivations of these young men in being so unprecedentedly callous to women- can it only be a sexual urge?

    I’d written about my experience of 25 years of patriarchy here. http://igirit.blogspot.in/2013/01/i-am-victim-and-i-blame-myself.html

    • bellejarblog April 27, 2013 at 1:53 am #

      I don’t think it’s sexual urge. I think that it’s a) a way of asserting control and having power over women and b) because they don’t see women as being fully human.

      I didn’t know that about the oil and the candles. How absolutely sickening. Jesus.

      Your post is incredibly strong – I’m going to share it on my facebook page. Thank you for linking me to it!

      • Igirit April 27, 2013 at 11:12 am #

        Thank you for so much reading and sharing.

        I discovered your blog very recently- but I’ve compulsively read all the archives. I think you should give that book another shot. 🙂

  10. ramblinginthecity April 26, 2013 at 7:23 am #

    so glad you blogged about this. I did too, with a different perspective- http://ramblinginthecity.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/the-larger-question-what-are-our-strategies-for-survival-as-a-society-vilification-or-empathy-us-or-them-paranoia-or-rationality/. I live in India. Rapes like this are only being highlighted now, but probably happened forever. Everyday, I am shocked by the ingrained patriarchy and misogyny in India, but also everywhere. And yes, we must keep on questioning, arguing, fighting till the world changes…..

    • bellejarblog April 27, 2013 at 2:05 am #

      Oh! I really like the perspective your post takes. I’m going to share it tomorrow! (I’m trying to space things out a bit so that I’m not sharing too many rape articles in one day – I think it gets to be too overwhelming)

      • ramblinginthecity April 27, 2013 at 8:13 am #

        Absolutely overwhelming and depressing. So glad you like my pint of view. Love your blog

  11. Maarten-Jan April 26, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    Thanks for this writing. Stories like this need to be shared and discussed in order to make a change. But to be honest the part you make a connection between rape and “culture” gave me the shivers. Rape is about power, command and anger by individuals the link to culture is scary in my opinion.

    • bellejarblog April 27, 2013 at 2:01 am #

      I don’t mean culture as in Indian culture or Canadian culture, I mean it in the sense of what we call rape culture:

      “Rape culture is a concept used to describe a culture in which rape and sexual violence are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone rape.

      Examples of behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, sexual objectification, and trivializing rape. Rape culture has been used to model behavior within social groups, including prison systems where prison rape is common and conflict areas where war rape is used as psychological warfare. Entire countries have also been alleged to be rape cultures.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_culture

      It’s more of an academic term!

      • Maarten-Jan April 29, 2013 at 8:14 am #

        Lesson learned, thanks for this! Guess I was lost in translation,

        much appreciated to take the time!

  12. bhuwanchand April 26, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    Its a shameful moment for all of us here in India, specially the males, if we can not provide a safe environment for our kids then whatever we are doing is just not enough. I can only hang my head in shame while reading this and similar incidences almost regularly. Personally I am going to make the kids in our family sensitive about these issues so that they are prepared to face the scums in their own life.

    Harsh punishment, swiftly handed out to these low-life is one of of creating some deterrence. Otherwise it may not take long for some vigilante group to start taking things in their own hand and the society may spiral further deep into the darkness.

    • bellejarblog April 27, 2013 at 1:55 am #

      I can only imagine how scary it must be to be raising children with this happening! I feel similar about raising my son here in Canada – rape is not really taken seriously by our police, and victims are often blamed.

      Based on your comment, you sound like a wonderful father. Your kids are lucky to have you ❤

  13. Julie Gillis April 26, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    Anne, I wrote this in response. I believe we have to find ways to act outside our borders all of us to make some change. Really hard times, but we must be as forceful in our charge for sexual equity as those pushing against it. Thanks for writing this piece http://juliegillis.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/relentless/

    • bellejarblog April 27, 2013 at 1:54 am #

      Your post is amazing! There are so many great posts, I want to share all of them!

  14. Birgit over the 7 seas April 26, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    Thank you for blogging this! Thank you for the strength to keep looking and speaking.

    • bellejarblog April 27, 2013 at 1:53 am #

      Thank you for taking the time to read it, in spite of the difficult subject matter.

  15. kartschedeen April 26, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    Reblogged this on Hear Me Roar.

  16. jesspants April 26, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    A five year old girl?! …words are failing me right now.

  17. Rosie April 27, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    Reblogged this on FEMBORG.

  18. SANDRA April 28, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    You know what the funny thing is ,everyone know’s rape is wrong,cruel,and a heinous crime but it still happens everyday ,everywhere,we protest for a few days ,we complain ,we get beaten up while protesting,and eventually we forget about it,till a similiar issue resurfaces,and then there are a few people everywhere,who forget all about the victim and her pain and justify the actions of the rapist,some even go to the extend of sympathizing with the rapist.This was CNN’s reaction on the steubenville rape case.
    http://www.change.org/petitions/cnn-apologize-for-your-disgusting-coverage-of-the-steubenville-rapists.

  19. swytla May 2, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    Reblogged this on swytla and commented:
    Posts like this one break my heart. I feel sick, angry, and also kind of broken, even empty on the inside. Perhaps knowing what is out there makes it harder to swallow abuses women and children suffer, but it’s so hard to fight all the time, to get flooded with righteous rage and write post after post on the topic. It never gets easy to read such things (and it bloody well should not!), so I feel your pain, I really do. All I can say to the women in the world is to hang on tight, to never be discouraged in the face of adversity, and to always remember that they are in the right and no one can change that. We have won some battles, lost some, and it seems like things have not changed all that much in some regards, yet I firmly believe that we can bring about change. I must believe that the majority of mankind is supporting this fight.

    So soldier on, add your voice to the crowd calling out for justice, safety and basic human rights. You have my voice – together we are strong, and we will make a change. The alternative – silence – is not an option.

  20. Archita May 3, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    Wrote something on this -http://architar.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/weekly-photo-challenge-culture-the-never-changing-moon/

  21. Shermy May 13, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

    Y’all are not getting to the source. The men. Nobody ever talks to them about why they continually find it necessary to do this to women the planet over. I for one am tired of women having to not only bear the burden of victim hood, but to then also have to plead on deaf ears for men not to perpetrate these heinous acts! Men rape, men can stop rape, they don’t want to. I challenge ANY man to prove me wrong.

  22. spillingtheteaa January 28, 2016 at 6:29 pm #

    Reblogged this on spillingtheteaa.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Relentless | Julie Gillis - April 26, 2013

    […] Here is Anne’s piece. […]

  2. 2013 In Review: Part 1 | The Belle Jar - December 29, 2013

    […] ways in which Dove manipulates women, Rehtaeh Parsons’ suicide, the Boston Bombing, and the kidnapping and sexual assault of a five year old Indian girl. I also experienced one of the worst hangovers of my adult life and wrote a 13 step guide to […]

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