A four year old rape victim who was left for dead at a crematorium in Madhya Pradesh, India, died on Monday evening from cardiac arrest. She had been in a coma since April 18th, having suffered severe brain and vaginal surgeries. She was lured by a young man who promised to buy her bananas from near by, but was instead sexually abused and later dumped in a different site. The police have arrested Firoz Khan and Rakesh Chaudhary in the attack. While the superintendent for the Seoni district where it occurred has promised the harshest punishment available, Indians continue to be outraged. This innocent victim seems to be just one in a long string of sexual crime that has gained media attention since the Jyoti Singh Pandey rape and death that occurred in New Delhi in December.
It is important to note that this girl did not get nearly as much media coverage as Jyoti Singh Pandey, and one can only wonder why. She was the daughter of poor day laborers, making it difficult for the growing Indian middle class to relate to her. Jyoti Singh Pandey, although from a disadvantaged background, represented a “modern” Indian movie: an aspiring young student just out with a friend to see a film. In the United States, we have seen similar cases in which certain stories are emphasized by the media over others, such as the case of the missing girl Natalee Holloway.
It is equally important to realize that children face such sexual abuse all around the world, even in “developed” countries such as the United States and nations in Western Europe. Let us not lose sight of the larger problem of sexual violence against children by superimposing it onto a strictly Indian context.
Let us hope that the Indian people will rally around the death of this little girl and push for radical reform in the legal justice and cultural systems currently in place.
Read more about the victim and the case.