A four year was most brutally raped and left to die a few kilometres from where I sit to write this post. I need to be graphic today in the hope that the horrific details may awaken our benumbed consciences and deadened souls that too often remain mute when faced with child abuse, a crime that has not place in any civilised society. The problem is that this child was poor, and anything qualified as poor leave us indifferent. Yet I will tell her story. This little girl was raped, sodomised, bitten, hit with stones and left to die. All it took to lure her was a packet of noodles and a paltry ten rupees. Then man had planned to throttle her but had to run away as he hear voices. The child managed to crawl back home to tell her story. Imagine her pain. She is alive but barely as every single part of her tiny body has been mutilated: she has several genital injuries a torn rectum necessitating a colostomy and has cuts and bite marks on her face, abdomen and chest. Doctors say she will need six months before she recovers. But the scars on her soul will never heal. In the words of Herbert Ward: “Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime.”
The statistics of child abuse and child sexual abuse in India are staggering and having reached epidemic proportions. 48,000 child rape cases were recorded from 2001 to 2011 and India saw an increase of 336% of child rape cases from 2001 (2,113 cases) to 2011 (7,112 cases). (Asian Centre for Human Rights report 2013). One child gets raped every 76 minutes. Do you understand what that means! I do not think so as if we truly did we would be up in arms. The reason that we, who have the power to change things do not budge is that most of these tiny victims are POOR so faraway from our reality.
My thoughts take me to the closing scene of the moving movie A Time to Kill, where the defence attorney describes to a all white jury in slow and painful detail the brutal rape of a little black girl and then in the final words of his summation simply says: and now imagine she is white!
I ask you to do the same thing. Imagine this little girl lying alone and mutilated on a hospital bed was yours.
We seem to be reacting at everything these days. Eminent personalities are returning their prestigious awards to mark their protest against intolerance. Everyone is talking tolerance and freedom of speech and thought.
Can a society be called tolerant, free and even sane when it allows children to be raped and mutilated and abused in all ways and perpetrators to go free.
I just ask you to imagine she was yours.