Editor’s Note: This article contains a graphic description of rape.
“A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy,” he said. “When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape.”
These were the vile words of Mukesh Singh in the revolutionary documentary India’s Daughter. British filmmaker Leslee Udwin headed the project, which was released in the United Kingdom on March 8, International Women’s Day, on BBC Four.
Singh was one of the six men who gang raped 23-year-old medical student Jyoti Singh on Dec. 12, 2012, in Delhi on a moving bus.
She died 13 days later in a hospital in Singapore from her injuries such as when one of the youngest of the men plunged an iron rod into her and ripped out her intestines, amongst other atrocities.
He, along with three other of the rapists, are facing the death penalty.
Her death was not in vain — soon after the news of her rape and murder became public, the streets of India were overflowed with average citizens crying out against the rape culture and sexism in Indian society.
The wave of protests in India, and across the world, prompted Udwin to capture the country’s reaction as well as go to a place no one dares to enter — the monster’s den.
In the film, Udwin interviews the rapists, but primarily focuses on Singh. She asks him to talk about the details of the rape. As he describes it, you realize that he shows absolutely no sign of remorse or regret, and he does not seem concerned about the perception people will have of him once they see him in Udwin’s documentary.
I understand the people that criticize this the documentary for giving the rapists a spotlight. And a huge portion of the film is dedicated to their words and opinions on the matter.
Why did Udwin give them an opportunity to speak about their foul views and make them ‘famous’ by interviewing them?
Rapists, murderers, pedophiles, terrorists and criminals are average people.
They are men and women walking amongst us, working near us, eating with us at the local restaurant.
They don’t have “MOLESTER” tattooed across their forehead — you cannot identify them.
When Udwin interviews them, she is reveals how deep the stain of sexism and misogyny runs.
“If my daughter or sister engaged in premarital activities and disgraced herself and allowed herself to lose face and character by doing such things, I would most certainly take this sort of sister or daughter to my farmhouse, and in front of my entire family, I would put petrol on her and set her alight,” said one of the lawyers of the criminals, A.P. Singh, in a televised interview.
Over three million girls are missing from the India’s population from 2001 to 2011. Many were killed in the womb or at birth simply for being female.
The United Nations stated that 35 percent of women worldwide said they had experienced violence in their lifetime.
1 in 10 girls under the age of 18 are forced to have sex.
In order to emphasize that rape culture is present in each nation Harvinder Singh, an Indian man, responded with United Kingdom’s Daughters, depicting the sky-high rape culture in that region as well.
Whether the crimes take place in Delhi or in London, rape culture is universal and has taken hold in the roots of every society.
The film has catapulted the issue and has made it hard for the crimes to be ignored any further.
We cannot allow the cries and sobs from victims be oppressed any longer or turn our backs away from the tar, the poison seeping into the pores of our world, allowing it to create monsters and atrocities while we watch blankly.
Obviously I do not have the exact step-by-step plan to erase rape culture and the degradation of human life from society.
But what I am saying is that this is the time to take a stand.
If you ignore the evil, then you are feeding it, nodding in agreement to its reign of terror, fueling the savage flame with your silence.
There cannot be any more silence.
Karla Casique is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.