Punish the woman

Geeta Pandey of BBC New Delhi reports:

It was sometime after 1am on 11 December when more than a dozen people barged into Sasikala’s [not her real name] house. The 42-year-old was dragged out, stripped and paraded naked around the village, tied to an electricity pole and beaten for hours.

A resident of Hosa Vantamuri village in Belagavi district in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, she was being punished because her 24-year-old son had eloped with his 18-year-old girlfriend.

The young woman had been betrothed by her family to another man and was to get married the next day. Her furious family wanted to know where the couple were.

So this isn’t about injustice to one woman, it’s about injustice to two women. The younger one was promised to a man by her family, clearly without her consent, let alone joy. The older woman was humiliated and beaten up because everything is women’s fault.

The police reached the village around 4am after they received a tip-off and rescued Sasikala and took her to hospital. She’s reported to be suffering from severe trauma. Her husband later told a visiting state minister that “my wife and I didn’t even know about the relationship”.

More than a dozen people have been arrested and a local police officer has been suspended for “dereliction of duty”. The incident made national headlines and authorities took notice. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah called it an “inhuman act” and promised justice to her.

But no real justice is possible. There’s no way to undo the events of that night.

…the incident in Belagavi is not really rare and several similar incidents have made headlines in India in recent years.

One such story that sparked global outrage came from the north-eastern state of Manipur in July. A viral video showed two women being dragged and groped by a mob of men before one of them was allegedly gang-raped.

If something goes wrong, strip a woman naked and then beat her up. Makes everything better.