India (MNN) — An Indian woman who was gang-raped and beaten on a bus in New Delhi died on Saturday, December 29.
"There is actually lots of rioting and protesting going on right now, because this woman and the man she was with were beaten, and she died after these men raped her," said Danny Punnose from Gospel for Asia.
On December 16, the woman and her male friend were traveling on a bus in New Delhi when they were attacked by six men. The men beat the couple, gang-raped the woman, and inserted an iron rod into her body, resulting in severe organ damage.
After 10 days at a hospital in New Delhi, the woman was brought Thursday to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, which specializes in multi-organ transplants.
"This lady was flown over to Singapore to try to save her life, and that kind of caught the attention of the international press," Punnose stated. "I think it's going to actually cause the government to have to take some decisions, to crack down on this kind of violence. This happens all the time; people are living in fear."
Dr. Kevin Loh, the chief executive of the hospital said the woman had been in extremely critical condition since Thursday, and by late Friday, her condition had taken a turn for the worse.
"This happens quite often, but this is the first time it's got national news," Punnose said. "When women go through this kind of trauma (rape and abuse) in India, it's a shame to talk about it; so they don't say anything. They actually just go back home, and they live with the shame for the rest of their lives and never tell anyone."
According to Punnose, 21,000 rapes were reported in 2008. He explained, "Most these rapes that take place are against the Dalit community,. The Dalit's are kind of the unforgotten people and not cared for, so no one actually cares what happens to them."
Gospel for Asia specializes in ministering to women through its
"Women Reaching Women" outreach.
Women missionaries are working in rural areas where unlawful abuse
occurs regularly, without retribution. GFA is also working in urban prostitution centers.
Six men have been arrested in connection with the attack in New Delhi. "If this were a woman from a Dalit background, no one would care right now; this would not be in the press right now. But because she was from an affluent family–a 'better' family, urban family, people have paid attention, and it's taken very seriously. So on one side, I hope the government will take action to really give more protection for women."
Punnose added, "We just have to watch in the next couple of months: will there actually be some laws that they enact, or is it just going to be a token covering over?"
Prayer is essential. "This is a horrendous thing that is happening," Punnose lamented. "Pray with compassion and empathy that the Lord would comfort this family, and at the same time that God would give us the grace and the opportunities to be able to reach out to more women."
Click here to learn more about the social conditions of the Dalits and women in India.