Death Penalty to India Rape Case sends new message


For the first time in India, the death penalty is being given to a convicted rapist while the victim still alive.

Headlines on many major news sites like CNN, BBC, and Al- Jazeera all read “three sentenced to death” following the new law that sets the death penalty if found guilty of more than one sexual assault.

All three news outlets reported on April 4th that three men had been sentenced to death following the gang rapes of two women in the city of Mumbai last year. Five men were involved; one is sentenced to life in prison and the last is facing a trial in juvenile court.

Violent crimes against women have been in the spotlight in India since late 2012, when a young woman was raped and beaten on a bus. This event spurred many public protests. The Indian media has since focused on these types of events and forced lawmakers to bring them to light as well.

Although the three articles said essentially the same thing, there was one quote on BBC that stood out among the rest. It was from Judge Shalini Phansalkar Joshi that said, “A loud and clear message needs to be sent to society.”

To me that implies that social change is truly happening in India through these trials. Not only are new, strict laws being created, but also being implemented and used to bring justice to women being raped. It’s sending a message to the entire society that these unlawful actions will not go unpunished.