A 16-year-old rape victim is dead in India after friends of her rapists allegedly set her on fire for going to the police.
Indian authorities have filed murder charges against two individuals for the December 23 incident, after the victim succumbed to her injuries and passed away on New Years Eve. Police suspect that the individuals are closely connected to the people accused of gang-raping the pregnant teen and attacked her in order to punish her.
The girl, whose name has not been released, identified her attackers as close friends of the two people who raped her in October.
“The accused tried to kill my daughter by setting her on fire to hush up their crimes,” the victim’s father told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Now, her death has sparked protests in Calcutta, as it stands as a reminder of the prevalent rape culture of the country and marks the one-year anniversary of another gang-rape that gripped the nation.
According to Think Progress:
The deceased 16-year-old was allegedly gang raped twice in the fall. In October, she was assaulted by a group of more than six men near her family’s home near Calcutta. The next day, she reported the attack at a local police station, and was raped again on her way home from the station. Both assaults left her unconscious. Her family ended up moving to a different town, but say they were still harassed and pressured to withdraw their police report. Meanwhile, the police were slow to take the report seriously, and speculated that the victim may have been a prostitute.
Spurred by her death, local police officers reported that they had finally made arrests on Wednesday — two months after the girl first reported the crime. Doctors confirmed that the girl was pregnant when she died, although they don’t yet know how far along the pregnancy was.
But the protests and pressure to effectively crack down on sexual assaults isn’t doing much to change the culture of victim-blaming and gender-based violence in India. Don’t be fooled, however. India isn’t the only country struggling with these issues.
In fact, a recent UN report on sexual violence — one of the largest international surveys on the topic to date — found that as many as one in four men in some part of the world have committed rape.
Those men, unfortunately, typically go unpunished.
SOURCE: Think Progress | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty
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