At the root lies our culture of impunity
When four “O” Level students are arrested for the rape and murder of one of their classmates, the very probability of it is enough for us to take a moment and think about how and why such a deplorable act of violence could take place, that too at the hands of teenagers.
While the cause of death is yet to be determined and the perpetrators have yet to be charged with rape, reports suggest that the victim was bleeding profusely after the incident and had been taken to the hospital by the perpetrators, allegedly as a way to cover up the incident.
This follows an incident in Bhola, in which a 14-year-old schoolgirl was gang raped after being picked up and sedated by an acquaintance. The trauma of the incident has left her barely able to speak.
Such incidents highlight the fact that sexual violence has become a permanent fixture in our national psyche and is undoubtedly a product of a rape culture that is so widespread that it allows men to dehumanize girls as young as 14 and for school-going young boys to commit such abhorrent crimes.
Despite widespread protests last year and the government’s amendment of the law to ensure death penalty for rape, little has changed. According to Ain O Salish Kendra, between October 2 and December 31 of last year, 160 incidents of rape took place, with the real number expected to be much higher due to the many victims leaving incidents of rape unreported.
Both these incidents, while yet to be tried in court, are not new in method: Carried out by people known to the victim, planned in advance, and in collusion with others.
At the root lies our culture of impunity, which must come to an end. Allegations of rape must be investigated thoroughly and rapists must be made to learn that getting away with a crime as serious as rape is next to impossible.