On 16 December 2012, 23-year-old Jyoti Singh – who’d just finished her exams to become a doctor – was the victim of a brutal sexual attack on a bus in New Delhi, India. Travelling home with her male friend after seeing Life Of Pi at the cinema, she was set upon by five men and a 17-year-old boy. She fought back as they raped, bit, disemboweled and eventually threw her out onto the street. Her friend tried to save her but he was beaten with an iron rod, too. Thirteen later, Jyoti died in hospital from the injuries. News of the attack shook the world, leaving everyone in mourning and prompting demonstrations on India’s streets for women to have more protection from sexual violence.
Now, more than two years later, Mukesh Singh, the driver of the bus – who’s serving time in jail for the attack – has spoken out, and his words have left us furious.
‘You can’t clap with one hand – it takes two hands,’ he said in an interview for a BBC documentary called India’s Daughter, which outlines what happened that day.
Yes, incredibly, he’s implying rape ‘takes two to tango’. He then went on to suggest that ‘a decent girl won’t roam around at night.’ Huh? And that ‘a girl is more responsible for rape than a boy … about 20% of girls are good.’
Seriously? How on earth an innocent victim can be ‘more responsible’ for rape than the perpetrator is beyond us – and what does being ‘good’ have to do with anything? His comments are truly sickening.
Jyoti, rightly, fought back against her attackers like anybody else would – and should – in the same situation, right? Mukesh thinks otherwise.
‘She should just be silent and allow the rape,’ he said. ‘They would have dropped her off after “doing her” and only hit the boy. The 15 or 20 minutes of the incident, I was driving the bus. The girl was screaming, “Help me, help me”.’
Tragically, Mukesh didn’t help. Instead he turned off the bus lights and joined in.
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Thanks in part to horrific events suhc as this one, New Delhi is known as the rape capital of the country. In India, a rape occurs every 20 minutes, a figure that’s difficult to comprehend. Coupled with the repulsive numbers, the blame for rapes often lies with victims.
Recent statistics from the Office for National Statistics showed 34% of 16-to-19-year-olds believed a victim’s drunkenness made them either ‘completely’, ‘mostly’ or ‘a little’ responsible for the assault, along with nearly 46% who said the same about a victim who’d been flirting with her attacker. Those results should say, ‘100% not responsible’ because the victim is never to blame, regardless of how much they’ve had to drink or what they’re wearing. We’re planning on sharing this message until everyone realises that. We hope you’ll join us!
This article was originally published on Cosmopolitan.co.uk