"When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape."
After BBC’s airing of their Storyville documentary called India’s Daughter, reaction from British Asians to the programme quickly trended on social media, especially Twitter.
The programme featured the events around the brutal rape in December 2012 of 23-year-old physiotherapy student Jyoti Singh. It showed interviews with many people related to the case, including the defendants, defence lawyers, Jyoti’s parents and friends, psychologists and police officials.
Whilst politicians in India demanded a ban of the programme in India, claiming it will defame India’s image, the BBC took the decision to bring forward the airing of it on BBC Four on Wednesday 4th March 2015 at 10.00pm instead of the scheduled Sunday 8th March – Women’s International Day.
It was reported that the maker of the documentary, Leslee Udwin, decided to fly out of India due to fears she could be arrested.
Jyoti Singh’s rape sparked outrage across India with huge support globally too. Leading to the arrest of the six men responsible. Mukesh Singh, his brother Ram Singh (who died in prison before the trial), Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, Akshay Thakur and a 17 year-old juvenile, who cannot be named.
The interview which attracted the most attention in the programme was with the convicted rapist, 28 year old, Mukesh Singh, the driver of the bus in which the horrific ordeal took place with Jyoti.
His comments were not of a member of a rapist gang who felt remorse but instead of a person who saw the act as a way of “teaching a lesson to them,” where ‘them’, refers to women who are asking to be ‘raped’ by men like him.
He said: “A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy.”
Mukesh candidly replayed the events of the night saying the others got drunk and they went to GB Road to have some ‘fun’. He confirmed that he was the only person who drove the bus whilst the rape and abuse of Jyoti took place.
He added, after brutally raping her between them, they removed all elements of proof including clothing and blood. He said, “We agreed no one would say anything.”
Mukesh Singh suggested Jyoti would not have been killed if she had not fought back against them raping her and blamed her for not behaving like “a decent girl.”
He said: “When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they’d have dropped her off after ‘doing her’, and only hit the boy.”
Reaction on Twitter instantly started with many people watching the programme in complete disbelief:
Not only did you RAPE the girl you brutally attacked her to the point her organs failed…all to teach her a lesson? #IndiasDaughter – Sonia Gill
Anyone else holding bk tears? #IndiasDaughter @IndiasDaughter BBC4 – Nihal Arthanayake
For every one case highlighted there are thousands that are not even investigated … #IndiasDaughter – Harjap Bhangal
Savages the lot of them. They are animals that that would sell their mums surely? – Salma Manzoor
Jyoti’s parents featured in the programme taking lovingly about their daughter and the hopes they had for her.
They celebrated her birth like a boy, giving out sweets to people. They sold land to raise funds to get her educated to become a doctor.
Everything was destroyed for them after this vile and horrific incident which left them with a constant vacuum of loss for their child.
Jyoti’s father, Badri, could not express the loss in words. Living with his daughter’s exit from the world before him, results in pain and devastation, each time he remembers what has happened. “…I’m unable to speak. Words just don’t come out.”
Talking of the rapists, he said:
“If we call them monsters, even monsters have limits. These are totally the devil, They went beyond all limits of evil”
The programme also saw defence lawyers still blaming women for dressing wrongly and for going out at night. Therefore, implying that the women who get raped are alluring men to be tempted by them.
M.L. Sharma a defence lawyer for the rapists spoke in riddles comparing women to flowers and diamonds and food. He said: “If you put a diamond on the street the dog will take it out. You can’t stop it.”
Sharma added: “You are talking about a man and a woman as friends. Sorry, that doesn’t have any place in our society.
“We have the best culture. In our culture there is no place for women.”
The other lawyer, A P Singh said that if he had a daughter who misbehaved and wore revealing clothes, he would set alight to her in front of a crowd.
Comments made by the lawyers left people in complete astonishment on Twitter:
#IndiasDaughter What sick men out there!! No remorse at all. The defence lawyers should going down with those vile men – Priya Chandegra
#IndiasDaughter This lawyer makes me sick, how he defend these lowlife people – Jaz
I can’t even comprehend what these defence lawyers and rapists are coming out with. it’s just completely horrific #IndiasDaughter – Sej
The defence lawyers are just as narrow minded as their rapist clients. ‘In our culture, there is no place for a woman’ #shame – Charny Sanghera
The defence lawyer- “if my daughter wore clothes that disgraced my family I will pour petrol on her & set her alight” #IndiasDaughter
Mukesh Singh indicated that rape was not something that was going to diminish in India. He said rape for women was now going to be worse.
“The death penalty will makes things more dangerous for girls. Now when they rape they won’t leave the girl like we did. They will kill her,” he said.
The BBC were hugely thanked for presenting a very thought provoking and valuable insight into this case and the state of India when dealing with rape.
Watching India’s Daughter, it became evident that India and its judicial system is not able to actively deal with rape in India. While rapes continue on a daily basis, for example, only 12 out of 200 cases of rape had been addressed.
Sadly, the struggle for women’s rights, their safety and support in India is only going to happen if the legal system is reviewed, mindset is changed and more is done by the government to support initiatives to protect women.