'The ruling won't end violence against women'

Women in India's capital say the guilty verdict handed to four gang-rapists will change little in their society.


    New Delhi, India - When a 23-year-old student died from injuries sustained during a gang-rape aboard a bus in this city, huge protests erupted across India, and in several other countries.

    Newspaper columnists sought to expose the epidemic of rape in India, while public opinion turned vehemently against those men held for the prolonged attack.

    Four men on Tuesday were found guilty of the rape and murder of the student in the December 2012 attack. They are due to be sentenced on Wednesday, and may face death by hanging. A fifth defendent, found to have been aged only 17 at the time of the attack, was last month sentenced to three years in jail.

    A further suspect hanged himself while in prison awaiting trial.

    The seven-month trial was held in a special fast-track court in south Delhi, with more than 100 witnesses called to give evidence.

    At least three of the four convicted on Tuesday will appeal against the guilty verdicts.

    Al Jazeera asked women in the Indian capital if they felt safer after the ruling, and if the judgement had provoked a societal change in the country.

    Binny Babbar, 21, freelance travel writer

    "I still do not feel safe. This incident took place in December 2012, and the verdict came out today.

    This won't change anything, as after the incident so many protests took place - but nothing changed.

    "We still hear about rape cases. The juvenile accused will get out of the prison after serving just three years. How will this make me feel safe?

    "I am still scared to go out of my house, even in my neighbourhood, after 7pm. Until and unless the legal system and mindset is changed, women won't be safe."

    Akansha Varshneya, 24, mass communication master's student

    "Nothing is going to change until the time the mindset of the men in this country is changed.

    "I still do not feel safe in this city. I never venture out on my own after 9pm because I am scared.

    "There are hardly any police during the night-time. One verdict is not going to change anything."

    Twishi Pande, 23, student

    "I do not feel any safer after just one conviction.

    "Many rapes have been reported after this - so what has really changed?

    "I travel in buses and I am so scared all the time that I do not take private buses after this incident.

    "I only travel in state-run DTC buses and completely avoid taking them after it gets dark.

    "Things won't change with one verdict. Tougher laws need to be implemented and the mindset needs a change."

    Madhvi Behl, 23, student

    "Nothing is going to change in this country.

    "How will one conviction change it when I don't even trust the cops here?

    "We all know that when we need them, most of the times they aren't around. It has personally happened with me when my friend and I had called the cops because some men were misbehaving with us.

    "They did not respond.

    "The mindset that they keep is that it has to be the fault of the woman."

    Srishti Sharma, 21, intern with PR firm

    "I do not feel any safe in the city.

    "If the culprits would have been punished sooner, then that might have set an example for everyone.

    "But nothing has really changed. We still hear about rape cases in the city.

    "However, I feel that the police have become more sensitive towards women.

    "I once called the police when some man was following my car. Their response was swift and what I was glad about that they called me thrice to ensure that I had reached home safely."

    Garima Matra, 22, student

    "This verdict will set out an example and I hope that people will be scared to even think about committing such heinous crimes.

    "I feel good about this, and, with this verdict, I hope to feel safer in the city.

    Tanya Arora, student

    "The verdict came out too late.

    "In between, so many cases have happened. This is not enough.

    "I still feel unsafe when I am alone - especially in the night. My friends who live in other cities, such as Ahmadabad in Gujarat and Mumbai in Maharashtra told me that it was much safer there.

    "But then a gang rape happened in Mumbai.

    "This verdict won't end the violence against women. The attitude they have towards women has to change.

    "They judge a woman for wearing a short skirt. How will this kind of attitude make any woman feel safe?"



    Follow Showkat Shafi on Twitter: @ShowkatShafi



    SOURCE: Al Jazeera



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