An Entire Community Got Together to Rape a Child.’ India Recoils at Girl’s Assault.
NEW DELHI — For months, police say, a group of men took turns raping an 11-year-old girl.
In the gated community in Chennai where the girl lived with her parents, the men gave her soft drinks laced with drugs, police said. They filmed themselves raping her, brandishing knives and threatening to release the videos if the girl told her family, police said.
The men were not intruders in the gated community, but employees who greeted residents, operated the elevator or brought water coolers to apartments.
When news broke Monday that authorities in Chennai, a coastal city in southeast India, had arrested 17 men accused of raping or molesting the girl over a period of seven months, chaos erupted at the complex in an older part of the city. Residents dismissed the building’s remaining staff members. Women volunteered to guard the complex’s entrances and some called for the suspects to be hanged.
Indian television channels ran lengthy news segments with banner headlines that read, simply, “Chennai Horror.”
“This story has shaken me to the core,” Rohini Singh, an Indian journalist, wrote on Twitter. “An entire community got together to rape a child. I cannot even fathom the depravity and horror of this act.”
This has been a year punctuated by brutal crimes against young girls in India. In January, an 8-year-old girl was kidnapped, locked in a Hindu temple, gang raped and beaten to death. In May, a teenage girl in central India was set on fire after her parents told a village council that men in the area had raped their daughter. In June, a 7-year-old girl was raped in the state of Madhya Pradesh, also in central India. Afterward, the two men slit her throat and left her to die.
印度今年针对年轻女子的暴力犯罪层出不穷。一月，一名八岁女孩遭到绑架，关在一个印度教寺庙里遭到轮奸，后被打死。五月，印度中部一名少女被放火烧死，此前她的父母告诉一个村委会，他们的女儿遭到该地男子的强奸。六月，一名七岁女孩在印度中部的中央邦遭到强奸后，两名男子切开了她的喉咙，任其死亡。A poll released in June by the Thomson Reuters Foundation named
India the most dangerous country in the world for women, ahead of war-torn countries like Afghanistan and Syria. In India, a rape occurs at least every 20 minutes, according to data from the National Crime Records Bureau.
汤森路透基金会(Thomson Reuters Foundation)6月发布的一项调查称，对于女性来说，印度是世界上最危险的国家，超过阿富汗和叙利亚等饱受战争蹂躏的国家。根据国家犯罪记录局(National Crime Records Bureau)的数据，在印度，至少每20分钟发生一次强奸。
Indian officials have struggled to figure out what to do. The government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved a measure in April to raise jail sentences for rapists and introduce the death penalty for those convicted of raping children under 12.
But it is unclear whether the law will have much of an effect. India’s judicial system is notoriously backlogged with millions of cases stuck in overburdened courts. The same crimes against young girls that gripped India this year have dropped out of the news cycle.
The rape of the 11-year-old girl in Chennai has raised many uncomfortable questions. E. Rajeswari, a police inspector in the area, said it was still unclear what occurred at the apartment building, which is surrounded by slums in the Chennai neighborhood of Ayanavaram. It is a stately complex with hundreds of apartments, a pool and a jungle gym.
Starting in January, the men — who ranged in age from 23 to 66 and worked as contractors in the building — took the girl to empty apartments in the complex, where they gave her sedatives, tied a belt around her neck, forced her to watch obscene videos and raped her, according to court statements. For months, Rajeswari said, the girl was “unable to convey what was happening to her parents,” who thought she was out playing.
Last week, after the girl’s sister noticed marks on her body, police were approached, setting into motion the arrest of employees in the building, including an elevator attendant who is thought to have initiated the assault and encouraged others to join in.
The men have been charged under laws related to sexual harassment and penetrative assault of a minor, attempted murder and criminal intimidation. In court Tuesday, a group of lawyers beat the men, who cowered on the ground, and refused to represent them.
But Jagmati Sangwan, vice president of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, said public outrage did not make up for India’s “lax prosecution and low conviction rates,” which could delay proceedings. She worried that the cycle of violence was one that showed no signs of abating.
但全印度民主妇女协会(All India Democratic Women’s Association)副会长贾格马蒂·桑万(Jagmati Sangwan)表示，公众的愤怒并不能弥补印度“宽松的起诉和低定罪率”，这可能会延误诉讼程序。她担心暴力循环没有显示出减弱的迹象。
“These men did not look at her like a child,” she said. “They looked at her merely as an instrument to satisfy their lust. What kind of society were they bred in?”