Indian gang rape victim faces ‘purification ritual’

Jun 15, 2015

by BBC

A woman who was gang raped for eight months in Gujarat, western India, is now not only pregnant as a result, but has been ordered to face “purification tests” by her community’s local courts. The BBC’s Ankur Jain reports on what this gruelling ritual will entail and why it is still endured.

The shy, softly spoken 23-year-old – who cannot be named for legal reasons – was living happily with her husband and two children in Surat when she was abducted last July and repeatedly gang raped by more than five men over several months.

She is now heavily pregnant and her petition for abortion was turned down by the Gujarat High Court because she was too advanced in her pregnancy.

Now, staying in a two-room house in Devaliya village, Ranpur Taluka, Gujarat, she spends her time with her two children. Her in-laws refuse to take her back and her husband has left his parents to be with her. But she spends all her time with the children, snuggling them and holding them tight.

Read the full article by clicking the name of the source located below.

25 comments on “Indian gang rape victim faces ‘purification ritual’

  • This is the kind of article that makes me want to contact the victim and help her to start her own business so she can out earn her sniveling husband and his treacherous family who aren’t worth their own salt.

    From the OP

    The victim’s husband, a cart-puller, said he would stand by her.
    “I am going to be with her. I have two children and I can’t marry again,” he said.

    Wonderful. The poor guy. He’s staying because he has no choice.

    If she had the means to support herself she could tell them all to piss off including that sadistic shaman-priest who can take his barley seeds and shove them where the sun don’t shine.

    a purification ritual is conducted by a tantric – a priest who practices black magic and believes in supernatural powers – and predates the existence of courts and police.
    In the ritual, the tantric asks the girl several questions and then checks if she is telling the truth by taking a pinch of barley seeds from a bag and asking her to say whether the number of seeds in his hand are even-numbered or odd.

    This is what comes from keeping girls out of the education system. They are at the mercy of every ignorant jackass around them. That psychopath priest wields a lot of power over women around him. And then the sheep townsfolk just baaa baaa and do what he says. It’s sick.

    If someone starts a fund I’ll send her money.

    Richard! Start a fund. Here’s the headline: Nice Atheist women save Indian rape victim and her children from evil Shaman-Priest!

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  • The awful Delhi rape case was supposed to have changed India’s attitudes. Clearly it hasn’t.

    There are still numerous problems with attitudes to women. Education for women hasn’t removed old prejudices and women with real economic freedoms are still hugely at risk just getting to and from work or going out. Even with partners.

    Women are a huge part of India’s rapidly growing middle class. It’s space programme is run by a woman and has an impressive number of female scientists for example. But still the old attitudes prevail outside of that bubble. And all women are at risk.

    The only solution is for the full force of the law to come down on all rapists. As was promised after the Delhi rape.

    Alongside that men need to be seriously educated about what is and isn’t acceptable!! From a very early age.

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  • Alice,
    India is stuck in the dark ages. I agree about the full force of the law. And I’d like to see a victim restitution program where the courts award a financial settlement to the victim that the rapist must come up with and hand it over in a public way. The shame of the crime must be transferred over from the victim to the perpetrator.

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  • 4
    aroundtown says:

    India is stuck in the dark ages.

    I think you have pretty much summed it up LaurieB. Everything seems to run through a primitive prism and the results are always jarring in India. I like your proposition on pubic restitution, I think your on to something there. They are very touchy about perception as it affects their position within the group. Don’t want to be the poster child in your town – don’t be an animal taking advantage of women.

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  • 6
    Miserablegit says:

    This case shows how utterly backward India is when dealing with cases like this, somehow they have succeeded in making the woman to be a subject of doubt and scrutiny. Utterly barbaric.

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  • India is an economically backward country, which was ruled by foreigners for many centuries. This country has got its freedom only around 65 years back. Compared to other developed countries, this is nothing to be counted. This is the biggest democratic country in the world. It has more than 125 crores people. There are Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jain’s, Christians and many other religions exists in harmony in this country. It has its own problems with regards to nutrition, water, housing, education, job, corruption, religion, sex etc. It is waging its war to come out of all these problems. It will take some more time, but definitely, it will.

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  • Look at how that Castro guy was treated in the USA. If he had been let off, he would have been beaten to death by angry vigilante mobs. It seems India treats rape as acceptable male entertainment.

    When I was in India, it seemed so odd the way women would cower in my presence. I certainly was not trying to intimidate anyone. They gave the body language as if expecting a blow.

    Has not the woman’s husband some say in this to protect her?

    My picture of India was wrinkled old snake charmers. But nearly everyone is under 30. You would think tradition would play a much smaller role.

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  • There have been some measured comments here, but so many are strident and arrogant. Of course the poor woman has suffered such violence and humiliation that she may never recover, and she is pregnant to boot. What has happened to her speaks eloquently about the social environment in which she lives.

    We only know what the media says her husband said; he has left his family to be with her, and what his motivations are, we have no way of telling. How do we know that he doesn’t love her? How do we in the West even know what love means, to people in grinding poverty, in a religious, backward, barely educated and insular society, in the poorest part of India?

    Imagine the anguish and shame of her family. They know no better, probably the priest thinks he is acting morally; he may even think that he is helping her. We don’t know and we can’t judge them.

    Nothing can diminish the suffering of the woman at the centre of the tragedy, but as with all crime, there is more than one victim, and all involved, perhaps even the perpetrators, are victims of the culture of the country in which they live and the violence of the events. All are worthy of compassion.

    It is easy to preach from the comfort of our Western upbringing, education, enlightenment and social freedom, but we should leave pontification to the clergy.

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  • eejit,

    imagine the anguish and shame of her family. They know no better, probably the priest thinks he is acting morally; he may even think that he is helping her. We don’t know and we can’t judge them.

    That’s true, I/we don’t know what those people were thinking but if the article is correct, then we do know what they did. The husband’s family rejected her. Her husband said that he will stay with her because they have children together and that he can’t marry again. Did you read the whole article? And the priest will use his authority to pass judgement on a woman who is a rape victim and she may end up exiled from her community on his personal recommendation. Is it even relevant what any of them think? Their actions have and will cause her and her children harm.

    Your comment is an exercise in cultural and moral relativism. We can’t judge them? But we do judge societies by their actions on a number of criteria. How do they treat their women? How do they treat their animals? How do they treat their children and how do they treat gays, racial and religious minorities? These are all valid points on which to judge a society. If we don’t judge societies as wanting in any of these areas then how and why would they engage in progressive reform?

    I have no guilt whatsoever about judging these societies and I want pressure put on them from the powers that be. As an American woman I am aware of my position of privilege and how we came to have our nearly level playing field. It wasn’t handed over with a smile. Many people suffered for that. People who weren’t afraid to be strident and arrogant when the situation called for it.

    Nothing can diminish the suffering of the woman at the centre of the tragedy

    No eejit, they can diminish her suffering.

    Her husband and extended family could surge forward with statements of unconditional support for her honor and demands for justice against the rapists.
    If the victim wanted an abortion then she should be allowed to have one immediately at no expense to herself. Since she was denied this procedure then she will bear a child that is a result of this horrific experience and spend the rest of her days wondering which rapist was the father based on the face of her future child. I expect every family member and resident of her town will do the same. This child will never live it down that one of the rapists was his/her father so the child will be another victim.
    The court could order those rapists to trial and to a lengthy jail term to serve as an example to the general public and they could order restitution by collection of a substantial amount of money that would allow her to relocate if she chooses and a financial settlement would allow the victim to divorce is she wanted to do so too.

    It’s easy to preach from…

    I wonder why you think it’s correct to express your feelings of compassion for these abused third world women but discourage those of us who are assertive in our demands for justice for them. Maybe they are desperate for outside help and wonder what’s taking so long and why no one is helping them. Maybe they just want a better life for themselves and for their families like the women they see on TV and movies and internet. Why do you assume that we are preaching from the ivory tower? You don’t know where we’ve been and who we interact with. Yes, this does speak to the social environment in which she lives but we are not obligated to like that treatment she received in her environment if we judge it to be against her best interests and contrary to her well being.

    eejit, for christ’s sake grow a spine and stand up for what’s right.

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  • Well, it’s not often that I’ve been accused of ducking a fight, or of engaging in cultural relativism. I can only say that ranting and raving, especially from a position of impotence, never achieved much except increasing bitterness and anger, and reducing understanding. It is however good fun and proves the righteousness of the ranter.

    How would you propose to actualise your strident demand for justice? Get Congress to invade India?

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  • Ideas are bulletproof

    Trouble is they’re time consuming. 150 years since evolution was proved, most people in the world still don’t believe it. 300 years since the start of the Enlightenment, the world is still full of Occultist reaction, two and a half thousand years since the principles of democracy were first articulated, not many democracies in the world today…..I could go on.

    Trouble is, we don’t have time in this age where mass destruction is easy, and communication instantaneous. Even small local conflicts can be catastrophic for the whole world. Preaching and outrage in a foreign land don’t get you far.

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  • eejit,

    I’m with Pinker on this one. The world is a less violent, more humane place to live than it ever was before. Just the last 500 years of Western history has surged ahead with all sorts of rights revolutions. Civil rights, gay rights, animal rights, children’s rights and yes women’s rights too. Some parts of the world are dragging behind us it’s true but don’t underestimate the power of the internet to spread progressive ideas like a plague of mind viruses for good. It’s happening already.

    There is a teenage girl somewhere in India reading this thread right now and realizing that other women and girls in other parts of the world are not living lives of misery. They grow up assuming that they are the equal of their own brothers and have the right to an education and the right to not be beaten and raped just because they happen to have two X chromosomes instead of an XY configuration in their cells. This is not for nothing. It’s reaching out a hand in support.

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  • I enjoyed reading your comments and agree with you Laurie. As we hear these terrible stories and learn about their lives which are based on very different values to our own, they may be learning about our lives too. We need to encourage this sort of cultural education so they can reshape their lives and the roles of women in their societies. Such as Malala Yousafzai.

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  • It’s true that women are told to act submissively around men, but that is often the case in developing countries not specifically just India, and that’s definitely a factor in the problem. With the growing number of young people or the “new-generation” as they are called in India, many parts of the country are seeing a huge shift in societal values and expectations. However, most of this progress is limited to metropolitan areas such as Mumbai and Calcutta, and instances like this case generally occur in villages that have no governing body other than religious advisers. In addition, the reason you still see tradition playing such a dominant role in the society is the fact that most of the actual lawmakers are over the age of 60, which means the young people who know better don’t have much input on how the country is governed.

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  • 17
    Vasundhara says:

    I agree with what you say as an Indian even i am ashamed at the state of affairs. But its a humble request do not call us backward. The problem is we are still unable to educate the masses about this but we as the youth are working towards it. Illiteracy, Poverty, Terrorism there are many things india has been battling through. Rape or crime against women is not only india its every where we need to eradicate it from the core. And as youth i am trying my level best to change the society help us do that please do not judge us we ask your support on humanitarian grounds not as a country or a race. India had a rich culture it still does we will try to awaken it. The culture where men and women are same where education i the most important thing.

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  • I totally agree with you Laurie! Lets start a fund and help this woman….it breaks my heart to think about what the baby would go through after the birth.
    Lets start a petition and a fund to help her. Let do it Richard!

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  • There are also Xtian “purification* ceremonies.
    Churching of Women
    A blessing given by the Church to mothers after recovery from childbirth. Only a Catholic woman who has given birth to a child in legitimate wedlock, provided she has not allowed the child to be baptized outside the Catholic Church, is entitled to it. It is not a precept, but a pious and praiseworthy custom (Rituale Romanum), dating from the early Christian ages, for a mother to present herself in the Church as soon as she is able to leave her house (St. Charles Borromeo, First Council of Milan), to render thanks to God for her happy delivery, and to obtain by means of the priestly blessing the graces necessary to bring up her child in a Christian manner. The prayers indicate that this blessing is intended solely for the benefit of the mother, and hence it is not necessary that she should bring the child with her; nevertheless, in many places the pious and edifying custom prevails of specially dedicating the child to God. For, as the Mother of Christ carried her Child to the Temple to offer Him to the Eternal Father, so a Christian mother is anxious to present her offspring to God and obtain for it the blessing of the Church. This blessing, in the ordinary form, without change or omission, is to be given to the mother, even if her child was stillborn, or has died without baptism

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  • Vasundhara,
    Are you a guy? I’m sorry I can’t tell by your name. If you are a young guy then I am encouraged by your desire to move your country forward in regards to it’s treatment of women. When I think of Indian women I think of how smart and resilient they are. I know there are many problems in India as you said above, and I know that rape and abuse of women is a terrible problem in many countries in the world. I am not asking you to solve the problems of the world or even the problems of India by yourself. All I would ask of you is to do the best you can in your relationships with women in your family and maybe in your neighborhood too.

    Women must be strong and demand respect, education, laws that protect them from abuse, laws that allow them to work and manage their own money, and laws that allow them to control the size of their own families. But we need help from men too. You can make a difference by standing up for women when they are being treated unfairly. Sometimes all it takes is for one bystander to shout at a bully and humiliate the bully to change peoples minds about an incident.

    Can I tell you a story about when I was a girl? Something happened that changed the way I think about abuse. I was walking after school with my friend who is smaller than I was. When we came around the corner there were two girls who were older than us and bigger too. We recognized them from school and we were frightened because we knew they were bullies. Those big girls gave my friend a fright and threatened to burn her with a cigarette. When we could we ran back to my friend’s house and told her mother what happened. She asked me why I didn’t do anything to help my friend. I said that I was so afraid of those bullies I couldn’t move or say anything. I’ll tell you something about this bad guilty feeling; I’ll never let that happen again.

    If you read this website in the future and you read comments that I write in defense of women and girls in my country and in other countries in other places I hope you will remember that story I told you. Other people may write comments saying that I’m being too tough or strident but I don’t care about that. Maybe they don’t know what it’s like to be threatened and frightened by someone bigger and meaner than themselves.

    Help the girls you know to stay in school as long as they possibly can. Some of them will become lawyers and politicians. Then they will fight to change laws and make life better for everyone around them.

    I hope you will visit with us again here soon.


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  • 22
    aroundtown says:

    Seems Indian courts are on a roll. To where?, who knows. Once might expect a measure of perceived success with a procedure like this woman had, or at least an acknowledgement of complicity from the government, but no, they want the $400.00 back, and you can bet they will likely garnish his pay to get it.

    Seems like weird things happen with regularity in India, and similar to the condition expressed in vampire tales of old, they don’t seem capable of seeing themselves in the mirror. I hope that changes for them soon, so they can move away from the trunk of the tree we fell out of. Pretty backwards still as regards forward movement/momentum I’m afraid.

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  • Ah yes, but the Internet has only been around for 25 years or so and there are even areas of the world where it has not penetrated. I’d be willing to bet that since its inception there has been an exponential increase in atheism/secularism. Another generation, two perhaps and the entire species may have achieved enlightenment?

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  • Duncan
    Jun 17, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    We need to encourage this sort of cultural education so they can reshape their lives and the roles of women in their societies. Such as Malala Yousafzai.

    Malala is in England!

    Unfortunately, back in Pakistan, the authorities seem to be taking a two-faced approach!
    Eight out of 10 Malala suspects ‘secretly acquitted’

    Eight of the 10 men reportedly jailed for the attempted assassination of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai were acquitted, it has emerged.

    In April, officials in Pakistan said that 10 Taliban fighters had been found guilty and received 25-year jail terms.

    But sources have now confirmed to the BBC that only two of the men who stood trial were convicted.

    The secrecy surrounding the trial, which was held behind closed doors, raised suspicions over its validity.

    The court judgement – seen for the first time on Friday more than a month after the trial – claims that the two men convicted were those who shot Ms Yousafzai in 2012.

    It was previously thought that both the gunmen and the man who ordered the attack had fled to Afghanistan.

    Muneer Ahmed, a spokesman for the Pakistani High Commission in London, said on Friday that the eight men were acquitted because of a lack of evidence.

    I would have thought an adjournment and the issuing of arrest warrants would have been appropriate.

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