Two teenage boys were arrested Sunday for the rape of a toddler and will face preliminary charges in 10 days from their arrest, in accordance of India’s recent fast track system to support sexual assault victims. Police interviewed 250 suspects that lived in the area of the toddler in western New Delhi before arresting the teens.
The two-year-old girl had been playing outside of her house during a 10-minute power outage in the neighborhood, and she was found in a park by family members three hours later, unconscious and bleeding. The toddler is recovering in a hospital, and has renewed public outrage against the sexual violence against women in India; the assault of the toddler was the second in 24 hours, after a five-year-old girl was gang-raped in the east area of Delhi, and a week earlier, a four-year-old girl was left by railway tracks after being stabbed and raped.
Sexual violence against women in India was exposed to the world after the publicized 2012 fatality of a student that was gang-raped in a bus in Delhi. The attack provoked stricter punishments for rapists, implemented by national government in order to protect victims, as well as fast-tracked trials for rapid justice.
Family members and friends are starting protests against the recent attacks, questioning the effectiveness of the new laws, as well as the competency of the New Delhi police force. The Delhi police are reportedly one of the most corrupt forces in the country, and 2012 statistics for Delhi itself show it to have the most raw number of rapes reported among Indian cities.
Crowds gathered at police headquarters after the Saturday attack, as well as in the office of Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who some have put blame on for his failure to prohibit the attacks on victims. Kejriwal encourages citizens to place the blame on the incompetency of the police force, and has publicly advocated for the state government to gain control of the force.
Experts say that India has underreported its 2014 recorded rape cases – 36,735, with 2,096 in Delhi alone.
Factors associated with sexual abuse and violence include poverty, and violence against women can increase dramatically within patriarchal societies. Many citizens in India support child marriages, the dowry tradition, selective abortions and the education and literacy rates are in favor of men over women. Women are beginning to stand up for themselves and their daughters to city officials, demanding better protection and treatment. Publicizing their stories creates awareness of the issues, but how to help resolve such multifaceted and entrenched problems remains complicated.