As India continues its painful soul-searching over its society’s treatment of women, this report cuts to the heart of the issue. We explore Delhi’s underbelly, where frequent and brutal attacks go unpunished.
Jyoti was a diligent student with hopes of a career in physiotherapy. She had a boyfriend and a loving family. Now they’re devastated. “Although I am able to breathe I feel like a dead person. I miss her a lot,” Badrinath Singh, Jyoti’s father tells us. She was gang-raped by a group of six men, who then brutalised her with an iron bar and left her and her partner to die. When news broke of the attack, something unusual happened. Instead of shrugging it off as just another assault on a young woman, India paid attention and thousands protested. It seems as if Jyoti’s terrible fate was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Zahira went through the same ordeal 8 years ago, but still one of her attackers, the nephew of a politician, remains unpunished. She and her family have been repeatedly threatened, but they’re determined to fight. “We fight not just for us, it is for everybody, for women in this country,” Zahira’s father says. And she’s not alone: from self-defence training to ‘rape revenge’ films, there is a concerted effort now to protect women and create a new mindset. But it’s one that may take some time, considering the police views on rape: “Only 10% of rape cases actually involve force. Only 10% are genuine,” they insist.