The following excerpt is the statement of Mukesh Singh, one of the men involved in the 2012 Delhi gang rape. His statement can be linked to the article ‘Why loiter’ by Shilpa Phadke.
‘Not remorseful for his action, Singh shifting blame on the victim herself for the act said, “A decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy. Boy and girl are not equal. Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes. About 20 per cent of girls are good.”
His perception on what a girl can and can’t do reveals the mind set of many lower class men in India and Pakistan. Not all of them are rapists but the majority of them do manage to pass down their judgments by the act of staring.
As explained by Shilpa Phadke, a woman who is seen occupying a public space without a purpose is considered to be a ‘bad’ girl. This is the point that Mukesh Singh also emphasizes on as he justified his rape in this newspaper article. According to him public spaces belong to men, whereas women are supposed to stay at home. And if a girl is spotted outside the space she is allowed in, her body becomes an object for different forms of abuse for the dominant male population. This includes touching, eve teasing and staring.
The girl raped however, was not loitering around. She was on her way home with a friend after watching a movie. In this case for Mukesh Singh and his partners in crime, the time wasn’t right for a woman to be outside her house and they immediately labeled her as a ‘bad’ girl.
Shilpa’s article also discussed a case where a woman was raped by a business man but the case lost all the media attention once the police discovered that the woman in question was a prostitute. This is the general understanding of the way things are supposed to be for women in India; a woman with a ‘bad character’ does not deserve justice or pity. The statement by Mukesh reflects this very understanding.
It is with the support of this social stigma that they raped an educated girl from the middle class and labeled her to be one with a bad character.