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Brutal New Delhi Gang Rape Outrages Indians, Spurs Calls for Action

Last Sunday in New Delhi, at around 9.30 p.m., a 23-year-old woman was gang raped for almost an hour on a moving bus and then thrown semi-naked on the road to die. Hideous violence against women is nothing new in India, but this particular outrage has caused widespread anger. Perhaps it was the casual ferocity of it. Or the fact that it took place on some of the teeming capital’s busiest streets. Or perhaps a nation at great pains to modernize is finding it hard to stomach what feels like an increasingly predatory sexual culture.\n

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

21st December 2012 06:21

Alessia Valenza

The rape sparked protests in the capital and outrage in Parliament, with several politicians demanding capital punishment for the perpetrators. The police have arrested four of the accused, and the trial, Indian Home Minister Sushil Shinde said, will be fast-tracked. “The incident has raised the issue of declining public confidence in the law and order machinery in the city,” a National Human Rights Commission statement said, “… Especially, in its capacity to ensure safety of women as a number of such incidents have been reported in the national capital in the recent past.”

Indeed, the rape of the 23-year-old — now fighting for her life with grievous injuries not only to her genitals but her intestines — is just another horror in a grim litany of Indian sexual violence. There were 17 cases of rape reported in the state of Haryana, which borders much of Delhi, in October alone. Across the nation, a woman is raped every 20 minutes, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. These frightening figures have risen steadily in recent years: in 2010, 24,206 rapes were reported, an almost 10% increase over 2001. The number of unreported rapes is without a doubt greater.

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