The BBC is reporting another shocking murder of a victim in a rape case in India. We have followed the dire conditions for girls and women who are often traded away in marriages or subjected to child bride arrangements that are little more than religiously sanctioned rape. The latest case involves a 16-year-old girl who was raped at a wedding and her attackers were then fined $750 and, according to the BBC, ordered to do 100 sit-ups. While most of us are outraged by such light punishment, the attackers were outraged in their own right and beat the parents and then burned the victim alive.
This unspeakable crime occurred in Chatra, a village in eastern Jharkhand state. The “elders” were asked to address the problem and their resolution is all-too-familiar in this culture where girls are often treated little better than chattel.
India has taken steps to crackdown on such attacks and abuse of young girls. However, the problem often resides with these village elders who apply religious and cultural values that devalue the lives of the victims. What is unspeakable is that these men have been raised to believe that such a murder is reasonable or understandable or excusable.
Police are still searching for the main culprit but arrests have been made.
This is just a glimpse into the horrific conditions for so many women and girls in places like Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and so many other countries. Our government has worked hard across Administrations to support reforms and this tragedy should serve to redouble all of our efforts to seek true safety and equality for women, particularly in these recidivistic nations.