A deadly gang rape in India has created a fire-storm online over the country's views on women who have been assaulted and the perpetrators in those crimes.
The public outrage regarding the 23-year-old woman who died over the weekend of injuries sustained during a brutal gang rape on a bus continued online Thursday, contending with the usually dominating discussion of cricket, according to social media analytic service TrendsMap.com. The wildly popular sport is brought to a head as India plays rival Pakistan Thursday, a match-up that usually eclipses other online conversations.
The social media discussion of the December sexual assault and subsequent charges against five perpetrators follows a history of silence regarding rape in India. #GangRape and #ChargeSheet are among the top terms in New Delhi, where the assault took place, following news Thursday of charges against the alleged assailants.
Among the new initiatives is a public transportation service for women that attempts to remove men from the equation. Sakha Cabs for Women, which began in November 2010, is among the companies offering women a car-for-hire service staffed exclusively by female drivers.
These drivers are also trained in self defense, first aid and communications, according to the company's website. Only men with a female companion may use the service.
A tweet by Mumbai-based blogger Maria Goretti advertising the service has been retweeted over 600 times as of this writing, and is the top trend among tweets in India, according to TrendsMap.
Cabs driven by women for women: For SHEBOM +912243333999/+912267070211 DELHI+911144222222 KOLKATA+913344333222
— maria goretti (@mariagorettiz) January 3, 2013
Attitudes in India toward rape and discussing it publicly appear to be changing.
A video emerged of women in the northeastern state of Assam assaulting a ruling Congress party leader accused of raping a woman early Thursday morning. The footage broadcast on Indian television shows a group of women surrounding the man police say is Bikram Singh Brahma, ripping his clothes off and slapping him in the face, according to the Associated Press.
Check out the footage here:
Multiple petitions have also popped up online with hundreds of thousands of signatories, calling for the Indian government to formalize it's response to sexual assaults on women.
An Avaaz.org petition demands a $1 billion public education campaign to "eradicate sexism and sexual violence in India."
"Only through a massive public education campaign that is targeted and hard-hitting can India replace negative and disrespectful attitudes toward women with a culture of respect, empowerment and equality," the petition says. Over 11,000 people signed it by midday Thursday.
Another petition through Causes.com has garnered more than 600,000 signatures since first posting on Dec. 18, calling for "severe action" to reduce the instances of rape in India and to produce harsher penalties for offenders, including the death penalty.
"If there is fear of the law obviously such perverts will think 100 times before commiting [sic] such crime," the petition says.