Even in a place where women and girls are, so often, treated appallingly it was beyond belief. The case of Jyoti and the bus trip home that became a hell-ride of unspeakable sexual violence and inhuman brutality. It stopped India dead in its tracks.
She was a diligent student with hopes of a career in physiotherapy. She had a boyfriend and a loving family. And unlike many fathers from India’s lower stratas, Jyoti’s dad was very proud of his beautiful girl. Now he’s devastated.
“Although I am able to breathe I feel like a dead person. I miss her a lot.”
BADRINATH SINGH, Father of Jyoti
Jyoti was with her boyfriend commuting home by bus to see her family when a gang of six men attacked them both. They gang-raped the 23-year-old, brutalised her with an iron bar and left her and her partner in a bloody pulp by the side of the road. By the time they were taken to hospital there was little hope for Jyoti.
When news broke of the attack, something strange happened. Instead of shrugging it off as just another assault on a young woman, India paid attention. Protests massed around the country, decrying the appalling treatment of Jyoti. Calls were issued for justice to be swift, instead of the normal inconclusive indifference that marks the way police and courts deal with rape cases. The trial of the six was expedited.
In the space of days, India had demonstrated a willingness to deal with a rampant problem. Sex crime and violence against women. But will it bring sustainable change?
“Even in the last year there have been cases of extremely brutal, awful incidents of rape that didn’t create the sort of revolution this one did. So now with this one case – how many leaves can fall on a roof before it caves in? In this case maybe was the last straw.”
LEEZA MANGALDAS – Actress
Tuesday 5th March at 8pm on ABC1