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Make the Legal System Work

No Shortcuts on Rape

The vigorous public discourse following the recent brutal gang rape and mutilation of the 23-year-old in Delhi is a positive sign but hopefully the demand for quick solutions will not ignore the complexities involved in dealing with all forms of violence against women. There are also other connected issues that require urgent attention including the description of a rape as a "state worse than death", making out certain acts of violence to be rare aberrations when they are depressingly routine, ignoring the sexual violence within families and the need to make the legal system accountable to the female citizenry.

Now that the gang rape victim christened as “Nirbhaya”, “Braveheart”, “India’s Daughter”, etc, by the media, has finally been laid to rest, despite the Delhi administration’s best efforts to prolong her ordeal until the protestors at India Gate were worn out, perhaps it is time to address deeper concerns that surround the issue of rape in public discourse.

Though many of us would like to change the terminology from “rape victim” to “rape survivor”, unfortunately that cannot be done in her case since she did not “survive”. The brutal injuries inflicted on her body during the gang rape took her life. One is therefore constrained to label her a “victim” despite her heroic struggle.

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