Last December, a 23 year old medical student and her male companion were lured onto a bus in Delhi, India. The man was severely beaten. The woman was repeatedly raped and tortured by five older men and a teenage boy. She was then left to die at the side the road.
And die she did, just two weeks later.
Today, four of those men were sentenced to hang.
One of the accused committed suicide in prison earlier this year. The teenager involved in the attack cannot be fully prosecuted as he was only 17 years old when the attack took place. Nevertheless, the other four convicted men will be executed.
I think it’s absolutely vital that the facts of this case are clear. The emotions provoked by it are so strong that it’s all too easy for the details to get lost, changed or misplaced. When it comes down to it, there are only these facts – the rest is conjecture and opinion.
I’ve only just found out about the conclusion of this trial – we’re talking maybe, five minutes ago. I’m oddly shaken, despite the fact that I live on the other side of the world and I would never have met this woman, even if she had lived. I’m shaken and confused. I don’t really know how to feel and I think a lot of women can probably identify with this.
I know that I’m only very young, but I still feel the need to point out the fact that this case is the single most horrendous sexual assault I have ever come across. The details – well, they just slay me. I can’t even comprehend what this woman went through. It causes me physical pain to think about it as a literal event, as a thing that actually took place – that actually happened to another human being.
Despite all of that, I truly believe that these men don’t deserve to hang.
My gut instinct is to feel very pleased with the verdict, very pleased indeed. And I’m not a rampant supporter of capital punishment. I’m very willing to confess that I do have trouble coming to terms with the fact that life rarely means life anymore. Sometimes, I do struggle with the idea that serial killers and child murderers should be allowed to carry on living. I’m not ashamed of the fact that I struggle with that sometimes.
It’s not a weakness to me, it’s just honesty.
The difference is that I know intellectually that the death penalty is wrong. It isn’t our place to deal out termination as a punishment. Though, I do strongly feel that these four rapists shouldn’t be allowed to carry on living after what they’ve done – I know that there will be no good involved in their executions.
Nothing good will come of their deaths and nobody will be truly satisfied. They might think that they will be now, but just wait until they come to terms with the depth of their ire and rage.
It is natural to want to see the men who raped and murdered your daughter sentenced to death – I absolutely condone and understand the response of the family. But I sincerely believe that those feelings will change. Soon, that satisfaction will dim and they’ll realise that they allowed their emotions to stymie true justice.
It’s how I’d feel if it were my child.
I believe that it’s how anybody with a good heart would feel, eventually. Not because these men deserve forgiveness, but because these men deserve to rot.
A part of me is glad that these men will be executed, but the rest is saddened to know that these four rapists won’t have to live with what they’ve done for very much longer.
It doesn’t seem right, somehow.