The rape of a 22-year-old photojournalist in India Thursday set off outrage in a nation where growing violence against women has been increasing and lack of accountability to resolve these crimes is putting India’s police and law makers in the hot seat.
The young woman was gang raped and beaten in an “isolated, overgrown corner of India’s business hub of Mumbai” Thursday, according to the Associated Press and Indian police reports.
The woman was on assignment for a magazine to take pictures of the old neighborhood and abandoned buildings when five men confronted her and her colleague at about 7 p.m., according to the Indian Police and the Associated Press.
Her male colleague, who was asked by the assailants to participate in the rape, was tied up and beaten when he refused, news reports stated.
This rape is one of a growing number in India. In December, a young woman was gang raped and killed on a bus in New Deli. The death of the young university student in the Indian capital set off a long wave of protests within the country demanding better laws and police protection for women.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau in India there were 24,915 rapes in 2012. In Mumbai alone, there were 233 that same year.
The Guardian’s Schona Jolly, a newspaper based in Great Britain, wrote Friday, “India’s politicians have failed, willingly or otherwise, to grasp or tackle what needs to be done to transform the collective consciousness on women’s rights.”
Jolly noted that the gang rape in the Delhi case in December “shook the politicians out of their stupor.”
“It was the starting point of a new constitutional framework for India’s women, of whatever class, religion or social background,” she said. “But political will to uplift the lot of women substantively was lacking. It was easier to let [defense] lawyers pronounce that ‘respectable women in India aren’t raped,’ and gurus on television blame or deify the fairer sex. It was easier for the morality police to start a backlash against women, banning them from the street, from bars, or requiring them to stay at home.”
Indian police arrested a suspect on Friday in the attack. According to the Indian police, the suspect named and identified the other four men involved.
The female victim was in stable condition Friday at a hospital where she was treated for the brutal attack.