On December 16 2012, a girl student and her male friend boarded a bus in the capital city of India to head home after watching a movie. The young woman was then sexually harassed by the six men who were already on the bus. Her male friend was hit with an iron rod and the same rod was used on her while the men took turns to rape her. The two were then flung onto the road. The young woman then lay bruised, battered and unconscious on the road when the driver of the bus tried to run her over. Her friend managed to push her out of the way somehow and they were rescued later when a passer-by alerted the police. During the assault major part of her intestines were forced out of her and the doctors had to resect the remaining part due to fear of gangrene and she was then given intravenous nutrition and medication. Thirteen days later she died from her injuries while undergoing emergency treatment in Singapore for brain and gastrointestinal damage.
The monstrous contours of the attack drove thousands of activists to the streets demanding a swift trial. This incident is remembered as the worst rape case in the history of the nation and is referred to as 2012 Delhi Gang Rape. It pricked India's conscience. On the occasion of India's Republic Day the President of India paid tribute to the young lady who lost her life in the barbaric assault. Many moves were then taken by the government in the aftermath of the incident to ensure better safety for women on the streets.
Rape is not unique to a particular country. It happens around the globe every hour of the day. Every 2 minutes someone in the US is sexually assaulted. In England around 400,000 women are sexually assaulted every year. Sweden and South Africa have one of the worst records.
Making laws is the job of the law-makers. But on a personal level a woman can prepare herself as best she can in case such evil comes her way while pursuing the many goals she sets her mind on.
1. The most important thing in this context is to be over-cautious while befriending people. Studies show us that in 96% of rapes the rapist is an acquaintance. In India in the year 2011 the rapist was a stranger in only 2% of the cases. This is alarming!!
2. It is okay to be suspicious of some relatives who give you a hint or two about their criminal intentions. Sexual crimes within one's extended family is not rare.
3. Stay away from deserted places.
4. When you are travelling in the nights inform a friend or two and stay in touch with them over the phone or the internet perhaps through silly tweets once in a while.
5. When you can afford the time enrol in some self-defense classes. Karate, taekwondo, kungfu, anything.
6. Always keep in your handbag self-defense tools handy. There are a multitude of such tools in the market which a woman can purchase according to her preference.
There is this self-defense keychain called Safety Cat which can be used on an attacker. You can hold the keychain in your hand quite comfortably while you move to and from your car. It has a great grip and in case you are fighting for your life the unique design of the keychain allows you to strike at the attacker's eyes or any fleshy part of the body. At all other times it can be used as a simple keychain and it does not attract much attention to it.
Then there are the good old pepper sprays. There is this pepper gun that allows the pepper spray to spray like an aerosol in a continuous fashion from any angle. Trigger Activated LED Light allows for better aim and temporarily disorients intruder.
Something that is highly recommended is an Emergency Alarm. Go for a very loud one, maybe about 130 decibels. It should attract attention to you within seconds and an attacker's worst enemy is attention. This is legal, safe, requires no training, could be used by anybody.
Then there are CDs that train women in self-defense. There's one called the Rape Escape Method.
There are stun guns and tactical pens and a whole lot of defense tools designed for personal safety that do not require any skill and can be used by any woman for her personal safety.
In the face of the attacker stay calm but alert. Look out for minor details that can help you get out of the situation. Do not show your vulnerability by crying, pleading. Shouting for help may benefit you when there are people around but emergency alarms are better than shouting. They are louder and they dont show your vulnerable side.
When using your personal tools that are kept in your handbag, first be sure if you are the one who is going to take advantage of them and not the attacker. Build the situation first. Indulge in silly conversation with the attacker if that helps.
Be calm but quick. If you plan to run take a second and be sure where you are running to.
If the worst comes to the worst, use your natural instinct to deal with the attacker. Spit, vomit, anything to repulse him. Tell him you are HIV positive. Anything to increase your chances of not getting assaulted.
A salute to this braveheart and all other victims of assault whose tragic stories made governments take measures against such assaults. Indeed this was an eye-opener to many women and stressed the need to prepare oneself, just in case.