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Delhi Rape Accused Arrive in Court

Delhi Rape Accused Arrive in Court Sajjad Hussain/AFP, via Getty

Prosecutors say they deserve death penalty.

The five men accused of the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi arrived in court on Monday to hear the charges against them, which include charges of rape, murder, and abduction. The magistrate ordered that the court be closed to the media and cleared for the safety of the accused men. The five men have no lawyers, and members of the bar association in the Saket district, where the case is being held, have vowed not to represent them. Even so, police say they have recorded confessions, and two of the accused have offered to be informers against the other defendants in exchange for less-severe sentences. But a prosecutor said, “The five accused persons deserve not less than the death penalty.”

Read it at Reuters

First-Hand Accounts

‘How I Survived’

Woman

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“Encourage every rape victim and those they love to hold their heads up high and not be afraid of acknowledging what happened.” Readers tell their own stories.

As protests over inadequate responses to sexual abuse erupt across the world, from India to Ohio, we asked Daily Beast readers to share their personal tales of sexual assault and rape.

Women around the world offered powerful memories of fear, stigma and overcoming the past. Here are their stories, and if you have one to share, please submit it here.

New Testimony

Gang-Rape Victim’s Friend Speaks

In an interview on Indian television, the dead woman’s male companion describes the Dec. 16 attack on a bus that left him unconscious and ultimately caused her death. By Shivam Vij.

More horrific details of the Dec. 16 gang rape and assault of a 23-year-old Indian woman on a Delhi bus were revealed Friday by her male companion, a week after the woman succumbed to injuries sustained in the attack.

"I wish I could have saved her," said the man in an hour-long interview with the Zee News television channel. He was not named by the channel, but many other reports have identified him as Avaindra Pratap Pandey, 28, a software engineer.

According to the woman’s companion, the driver’s friends sat in the bus as though they were passengers and one even collected the bus fare, thus avoiding suspicion about their plans. When their questions and sexual remarks turned into a violent fight, the man says he took on three of them. But then one of his attackers struck his head with an iron rod, rendering him unconscious.

The assault was so well planned that the six alleged perpetrators, including one minor, took care to take away all their possessions and clothes to destroy evidence. Thereafter, according to the woman’s companion, the men tried to kill the couple by driving the bus over them, but the man said he pulled the woman to safety and the two survived.

Rotten System

India’s Fatal Rape Was No Anomaly

The six men who raped and killed a woman in India probably thought they could get away with it, and why not, writes Anuradha Roy, who explains that crimes against women are routinely ignored if not encouraged by the ruling class.

Ravi Das Camp is about seven miles from the president’s palace in New Delhi. En route are the mansions where members of parliament live, guarded by armed soldiers in bunkers. The men who in December allegedly raped a young paramedic brutally enough to kill her lived in Ravi Das Camp, a slum reported to be as fetid and dehumanizing as the many others close to the homes and offices of Delhi’s political elite.

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RAVEENDRAN

In a sense it is fitting that the alleged rapists and murderers lived within touching distance of our politicians. In the 2009 parliamentary elections, India’s political parties fielded 6 candidates charged with rape while 34 candidates were awaiting trial for crimes against women. In the state assemblies, 42 members had rape or associated charges against them at the time of their election. In all, according to a recent report published by the Association for Democratic Reforms, India has over 300 such politicians in power.

Is it any surprise that the men brutalizing a woman with a rusted rod thought they could get away with it? They may not have known there were 300 potential or actual rapists making the laws, nor the precise numbers that show the conviction rate for rape dropping from 46 percent to 26 percent over the last 40 years. But they would have known that it’s a pretty safe bet to rape a woman, scoot, and start the cycle afresh. Fifty percent of India’s population lives with this knowledge: its women.

Outcry

Death for Accused Rapists?

Six men in India have been charged with murder after a gang-rape victim died this morning. Shivam Vij reports from New Delhi, where protestors are calling for their execution.

Hundreds of protestors gathered in New Delhi on Saturday morning to mourn the death of a 23-year-old medical student who was raped and brutally assaulted on December 16. The woman passed away in the early hours of Saturday in a Singapore hospital, succumbing to injuries she suffered at the hands of six men on a moving bus. Those men have now been charged with her murder and could face execution. In the 12 days following the attack, the victim was breathing with a ventilator, her intestines were removed, and she suffered a cardiac arrest and multi-organ failure. She had said she wanted to live.

Anti Rape Protesters in New Delhi

Anti-rape protesters lying on road duringa gathering to mourn the death of the recent gang rape victim at Jantar Mantar on December 29 in New Delhi. (Virendra Singh Gosain/Hindustan Times, via Getty)

In recent days, the police cordoned off central Delhi from all traffic and closed down its metro stations to prevent protestors from reaching the seat of power at Raisina Hill and the India Gate war memorial. That is where protests were held earlier, leading to some incidents of violence. This time the government allowed protestors only at the usual demonstration site in Delhi, Jantar Mantar.

The woman, whose name has been withheld, has been named "Damini" by protestors after a 1993 Bollywood movie about a rape survivor’s fight for justice. One group of protestors shouted, “We are with Damini in her struggle,” as though she was still alive, one example of how the case has become a symbol of the issue of rape and sexual harassment in India. 

Blind Eye

A Nation of Onlookers

A school shooting in America, a horrific rape on a New Delhi bus. Different incidents but both are deep problems that plague each country and seem unsolvable. Dilip D’Souza asks why.

In the US, it’s a horrific massacre with guns. In India, it’s a nightmarish rape and beating of a young couple in a bus. In my years in these two countries I’ve called home, no crimes cause as great a surge of outrage, followed by anguished introspection, as ones like these do.

India Protest

Women participate in a candlelight vigil to show solidarity with a rape victim at India Gate in New Delhi December 21, 2012. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters, via Landov)

There’s outrage, but there’s no end to these atrocities. There may never be. In a two-week stretch last July, we saw an Indian assault on a woman and an American gun massacre. In a two-day stretch last week, we saw … an American gun massacre and an Indian assault on a woman.

Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, and now Sandy Hook: each triggers a blizzard of hand-wringing over gun control and that unresolvable debate about whether guns kill people or people do. Columnists suffer conniptions trying to identify the failings in American society that drive men to these atrocities. Overseas, we non-Americans shake our heads in wonder: “Random, meaningless acts of mass killing are rare elsewhere in the world and yet so common in the Us”, writes Ranjona Bannerjee in a recent column.

Justice

Heinous Bus Gang-Rape Outrages India

The alleged attack, which left a 23-year-old woman battling for her life, has lawmakers calling for tougher punishments for sexual violence.

A heinous case of gang-rape on a bus in Delhi—which left the alleged victim battling for life—has outraged India, stalled the country’s Parliament, affected the courts, and resulted in widespread calls for punishing rapists with the death penalty. The anger runs so deep that one of the accused, who allegedly confessed to the crime, reportedly said he should be hanged.

Protests Following Bus Gang Rape in Delhi

Indian physiotherapists shouts slogans during a Dec. 19 protest following the gang-rape of a student in New Delhi. Indian police on Dec. 17 arrested the driver of a bus a day after a student was gang-raped and thrown out of the vehicle, reports said, in an attack that has sparked fresh concern for women's safety. (Sajjad Hussain/AFP, via Getty)

According to media reports and the local police, on the night of Dec. 18, bus driver Ram Singh and five friends took Singh’s vehicle out for a joy-ride across the elite South Delhi district. With tinted window panes and curtains, the bus was used to ferry schoolchildren and office-goers. Presuming it to be a private passenger bus, the 23-year-old woman reportedly boarded the bus with a male friend at 9:15 p.m.

Three of the six men then allegedly confronted the couple, asking them what they were doing out together at night. When the couple rebuffed the questions, the men reportedly started beating the male passenger. When the woman tried to intervene, she was allegedly taken at the back of the bus, brutally gang-raped, sodomized and assaulted with an iron rod, even as Singh reportedly kept driving the bus. The two were apparently thrown out of the bus 40 minutes later.

The Trial Begins

Death for Accused Rapists?

Death for Accused Rapists?

Shivam Vij reports from New Delhi, where protestors are crying out for blood.

Rotten System

India’s Fatal Rape Was No Anomaly

Justice

Heinous Bus Gang-Rape Outrages India

New Testimony

Gang-Rape Victim’s Friend Speaks

Blind Eye

A Nation of Onlookers

Readers Weigh In

‘How I Survived’

‘How I Survived’

“Encourage every rape victim and those they love to hold their heads up high and not be afraid of acknowledging what happened.” Readers tell their own stories.