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Delhi gang-rape: It is every one's fight

Navadha Pandey
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People gather for a silent protest to mourn a gang-rape victim in Mumbai on Saturday. Photo: Shashi Ashiwal
People gather for a silent protest to mourn a gang-rape victim in Mumbai on Saturday. Photo: Shashi Ashiwal

The gang-rape victim is dead. This was the news I woke up to today. She died in Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth hospital of multiple organ failure. They said she was a fighter. They say she wanted to live and see to it that the culprits were punished. But she died before the trial even began.

I feel helpless, sad, angry, pained, hurt. I cannot fathom even an iota of the pain she went through, yet I feel grief. Every woman walking on the road who has ever been sexually harassed, or molested knows that this was their fight too. This was my fight.

College students came out on the streets asking for justice. Well it’s not justice. I don’t care if they are hanged, I don’t care if they get life imprisonment. The cynic in me sees this as a battle lost. A 23-year-old, with her whole life ahead of her…died fighting. …We have lost a braveheart, people say.

Why did she have to die, while the men who did the heinous crime are still alive? Who can make up for that? The ministers expressed their grief, telling us they have daughters too. Saying they feel the grief. But, do they really feel the grief is the question being asked or is this the end of a battle?

People say this is not the end. This is a beginning of a battle against crime against women, they say. I hope it is. I hope the media doesn’t find something more juicy in three days. I hope something good comes out of this. A law, for starters, would be beneficial.

This rape victim had become a symbol of all our protests. Somebody I had not met, I don’t even know her name, has given me strength to raise my voice. And, she has given me the courage to punch a guy if he so much as tries to touch me. Well, this is my promise to her. May she rest in peace.

(This article was published on December 29, 2012)
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