This is the car it happened in. A repurposed government car, can you believe? An old white Ambassador with white curtains hanging from the tinted windows, so the sun and everyone else could be shut out from the hallowed government business that went on inside. I'm sure the tinted windows weren't meant for the same nefarious purpose which aided the perpetrators of my crime.

Perpetrators. What a great word. Has all the echoes of pervert, terminator, traitor, dictator, which for that one hour is what those two men and one "boy" were to me.

Yet nothing has the sting of the word rapist. Listen to it. The rasping R, the shrill long A, the ultimately effete PIST of a loser who preys on the vulnerable and weak.

You're not looking at the pictures of the car. Did you really look? You wanna see inside? I mean you can rely on my description if you want. I'm good at describing things, everyone always says. Did I mention the red-orange paan stain on the back of the front seat? Don't mistake it for blood. That's on the back seat, vague patches of it left after a feeble attempt to wipe it off. But the erupting red-orange splots, that's paan, a ubiquitous stain across India. But who spits paan inside their car? Yet there it was. Funny the things you focus on when you're trying to shut out pain and humiliation. You can close your eyes, but that just magnifies the senses. So I clung to the bulbous splat on the dingy white seat covers and a small crack in the dingy white curtains that occasionally let in a shard of light from a passing street lamp.

OK, you don't have to look at the photos. You can just read my words and rely solely on my description.

Only, how do you know I'm telling the truth?



"Then, sir?"
"Then?" the Station House Officer said again, snapping his finger towards the computer screen in front of him.
"I suppose we could have moved more quickly. Sir," said the braver of the two foot patrolmen. "Yes, sir, maybe we could have," said the other.
"More quickly," the SHO said, his eyes fixed on the computer screen. His silent gnawing on a toothpick and the occasional sucking of a few strands of his black moustache only added to the uneasy stuffiness in the room. Just a few minutes earlier the SHO had demanded the presence of these two patrolmen so loudly that the entire chowki and a few residents from the neighbouring shops and apartments gathered in feral anticipation to see the summoned police take their walk of shame. But now the SHO remained menacingly silent.

"Sorry, sir. Really, we're sorry. We thought she was a randi. She was wearing a miniskirt, boss. We thought she'd just been knocked around by a client, you know?"

"Do I know? Do I know?" the SHO said in such a placid, wondering tone it almost disarmed his subordinates. But the more senior policemen watching from the side of the room, nudging each other in unconscious excitement that the real tamasha was about to begin, knew better. "Do I know?" he said again before violently kicking his paan-stained rubbish bin across the room. "Yes, I know! By the time sun breaks every gaand in India will know, thanks to you two! Bhhhhe. Hennn. Chodddd!" He raced from behind his desk to stand inches away from the two men and shouted again, "Bhenchod!", spewing left-over pieces of his midnight parantha onto their faces."You prod her like a dead animal with your lathi and then you talk to her like a randi! In front of students who have fancy smart phones! Who want to catch us out, make us look bad! Why were you asking such questions? Was it for your own entertainment? Huh? And why, tell me, did you take her to AIIMS? You pick her up from Mehrauli and the Max Bupa Hospital is right under your armpit, but you take her to AIIMS instead? Idiots! Why? Tell me, why? Did you maderchod take a turn with her too!" The Superintendent was shouting so loudly and so close to his subordinates' faces, the veins were bulging out of his neck with such anger, that everyone in the room - six other officers and a lingering tea boy - thought he was going to whack them.

"No, sir," was all the braver officer could manage to say before relocking his jaw into its fixed, defensive position, while looking just slightly over the shoulder of his boss.



I wasn't wearing a miniskirt. I was wearing a sarong over jeans that were ripped off me. But the police wouldn't have thought of that. Such surmising requires great powers of observation and deduction: blood, bruises and dirt on my legs and thighs might have suggested a forced entry; a bleeding hand might have suggested foul play; no shoes on my feet might not have been a sign I was a lady of the night (prostitutes don't wear shoes?) but a victim of some nasty crime before being discarded on the roadside. Anyone with a basic education and TV-cop show understanding of crime scene investigation would know all that. But not these police officers.

Inspectors, maybe. But not the first-rung johnnies reserved for the general public. Some of them are no better than the brutes they're meant to be protecting the public from. And even the majority (let's be positive) who aren't breaking the law aren't always above protecting those who do, or having a total disregard for a victim's ordeal.

Sorry, I know I'm cribbing. I've lost a lot of blood and more dignity than I ever knew I had. And if I sound bitter, well, I was just raped by three men - sorry, two men and one "boy" of 17 years of age - who pulled me into their car and drove me around Delhi (heard that one before?) while they took turns violating me, to put it nicely. Then when the cops finally came to my rescue they nudge my disregarded body with their dirty lathi and deduce, wise Sherlocks, that I am a whore and therefore not deserving to be rescued.

Then again, just because I wasn't originally dressed like a whore doesn't mean I wasn't. Maybe I am a whore. Does that make you less sympathetic?



"Another one?" said the surgeon to the nervy junior doctor, who was holding the door open for him. "Yes, sir. She arrived several hours ago, very badly off," the junior doctor said as the surgeon took off his silk herringbone jacket that was as worn-out as it was snug. "She didn't look it, so there was some delay, but the concussion is bad. Lots of internal bleeding in the brain, intestines and vagina. The police said they rushed her here immediately, but according to some students who found her body, the police took an hour to get her here. She's in a very bad way."

"They're the ones outside?" the surgeon said, nodding his head in the direction of the window while readjusting the twirl of his indigo black moustache that matched his indigo black hair, which was a shade of particular pride to his outmoded Ashoka Hotel barber.

"Yes, sir. They're fuming," he said as both doctors began to scrub their hands. "They're accusing the police of negligence. They've posted a video of the police asking her all sorts of irrelevant questions about being in a brothel and how much she was paid." He made a tsking noise with his tongue and shook his head for several seconds. "I don't know, this country, just when we think we're going places... And they say she could have been taken to several closer hospitals, but because they were trying to lose them, the students, the police were trying to lose the students who were following them, they say, they wasted more time. Here, please come," the junior doctor, pointing with his elbow towards the sterilized tray containing their surgery gowns. "Then again, the students stopped to help her and are now causing a huge fuss to make sure she gets the proper treatment, and that's something. Yes, maybe we are on the right road. Here, nurse, tie us up please," the junior doctor said to the meek, unacknowledged nurse standing on the side of the room.

"If they had a car why didn't they bring her in themselves," the surgeon asked. "Come on, get on with it! Hey, damn! You've touched my hand, you idiot! Now I have to wash again! Do you not know how to tie a gown without making it unsterile?"

"Sorry, sir, sorry, here let me -- " the nurse said.
"Just move away!"
"They didn't have a car," the junior doctor said. "They followed in a rickshaw, but the police sped away from them. They've gone from hospital to hospital all night, posting on Facebook all the while, that's why there's such a buzz out there."
"They know her?"
"No, no. No, sir. They just stumbled upon her. One of them is with some women's group, sir, so is quite active on women's issues, I'm told."
"Boys in a women's group?"
"No, the girl is in the women's group."
"Hold on, the two students you're talking about are a boy and girl?"
"Yes, sir."
"There are boys and girls out at 11 o'clock at night and we wonder why these attacks are happening on our streets? Honestly. Which room?"
"Second surgery, sir. This door, sir."
"Hey Bhagwan! They battered her face up too? I guess they would, wouldn't they. And the pen? They've taken it out now?"
"Yes, sir. But it's caused a lot of damage to her intestines. They're ready for you, sir."



No, I am not a whore. I'm a 27-year-old commerce graduate, despite or because of the fact I come from a long line of civil servants and educators. I have studied abroad. I have had two serious boyfriends and, yes, I had sex with them as well as another acquaintance once, OK, twice. This is not general knowledge, but I want to be frank with you. Does that make me a whore? I don't think so. Do my parents know? Of course not. Do they suspect? Perhaps. But they were mostly concerned that I got a good degree, so I could get a good career, not a good husband. But they are unusually evolved. And I'm not yet 30. Soon they will be looking at and the matchmaker will come around. Would have come around.

I like to think I am stylish. I have short hair but not for any political reasons, and not just because long hair is a style so old and common in India, yaar, and not just because, OK, my hair is lank and thin and doesn't look good long, but really because hair that comes to the chin is so easy to tuck behind my ears and still look smart, stylish and sexy depending on which avatar I choose to be. Yes, sometimes I want to look sexy. But please understand I am more modestly turned out than most Bollywood heroines and am not blessed with the curves of an apsara, nor their celestial powers and ancestry that would give me the courage to show them off. I am far from a "dented and painted woman" and I do not invite unnecessary attention in my dress or demeanour, nor do I look down on women who, in ignorance or bravery, do.

I have a group of friends who are educated and fun-loving. We have been to nightclubs in our youth, but now we all work hard and rarely meet up for more than dinner or movies a few times a month. I am a dutiful daughter who still lives at home, eats with her family and helps look after her bed-bound Nana. But most of my time is spent growing my own vending machine business, which turned a profit after only 18 months of operation.

I could be a poster girl for Emerging India.
I could have been.
Now - raped, beaten and filmed by well-meaning onlookers - who will marry me?
Would you?
Would the boyfriends, brothers, fathers, sons and husbands who gather in the streets out in front of the hospital I'm lying in, who are demanding justice for me, "another daughter of India ravaged by its wolves," be happy to wed or sanction their nearest and dearest to marry soiled me?



"We want justice! We want justice!"
"Hang the rapists! Hang the rapists!"
"Enough is enough!"
"Respect - give women respect!"

"Excuse me, excuse me. Can you tell our viewers why you're here today?"
"Because enough is enough! The women population can't go on being attacked like animals!"
"So that's why you've been out here all night and today? Ma'am, what about you? How long have you been out here?"

"Over 18 hours and we'll stay until the animals who did this are caught and the police apologize for the lack of care! Their apathy might be costing another life! Our society is not breaking, it's broken and we are here, so many women and so many men, because we want to fix it! It is simple, the solution is simple!"

"What is the solution?"
"Stop treating us women like we are lesser than men! Simple!"
"And you, ma'am, what's your view?"
"We want justice for the victims, compassion and action from the police and accountability from our judicial system. Nine times the amount of recorded rapes go unreported and of those that do, only 25% of those rapists actually get prosecuted! We need fast track, special courts that speed up such cases and encourage more victims to come forward and feel confident they will get justice!"
"Are you not afraid that such a fast track system might though, ma'am, bear with me, please, ma'am, some say, it might increase false accusations?"

"No one is saying we want to increase those wrongly accused. Absolutely not! And the women who do use laws meant to protect them as tools of vengeance should do time themselves! I have no issue with that. They are a menace to society who only hurt truly vulnerable women in the end. But let us not assume they are the majority or even anything other than a minority. Let us not use the police's line that, 'These women are really asking for it, they just use rape to get money from their men.' As soon as you believe that, that the majority of rape victims are, you know, like 'bhediya aaya, bhediya aaya,' crying wolf or liars, basically, then we are all done for. You really think in this country a woman wants to lie and shout, 'I was raped?' It is not an easy thing to say, believe me! Not so many would lie about such a thing!"



Perhaps I'm not being fair. I have male friends who say they wouldn't care if a girl had sex before marriage. Clearly I have dated some. No doubt many educated, urbane Indian men are more evolved. Perhaps even some of the boys and men who are disgusted by the mistreatment of women and who gallantly go to Ramlila Maidan demonstrations or stand outside the hospital after such attacks, because they are truly angry at the patriarchy and violence women face, would have no problem to love and cherish a victim of such hate.

That is a nice thought to have. Yes, Vikram would. So would Amir, GK, Rohit, maybe even Anil. A nice thought, maybe, but not the real issue. Whether I am soiled goods or not is just a branch off the tree of disregard. The roots of misogyny go much deeper.

Take the phrase so many journalists love to haul out, "India's violence against women starts in the womb," because we have record numbers of female foeticide and infanticide in this country. But even that is just another branch off the tree of disregard. The reasons for rating boys more than girls - and let's not pretend that even some of the well-meaning demonstrators don't do the same - goes deeper, doesn't it?

It is shockingly simple: in India, and beyond - for this is not only an Indian problem - most men, though not all, and even many women, see women as inferior to men: girls are disregarded as a problem or liability at best and at worst they are chattel to be used and abused like animals. Of course not everyone who believes animals are inferior to humans goes around kicking dogs, strangling cats or buggering sheep. But for those whose response to frustration or unsated desire is physical violence on top of a deep disregard for women, presto, you have potential rapists. A lot of them. And that is the rotten core. I don't even want to excavate through the putrid decay, the stinking, scummy roots to get to the bottom of it. Your guess is probably better than mine. I'm in no state to be rational.

But I ask you, will killing rapists or chemically castrating them, those who are caught, really clean out that putrid decay?
Sorry. I'm being operated on, so blood and guts are on my mind. I keep trying not to think about the operation. Because I will be fine, right? Just fine.

You see, unlike the depraved Dec 16 gang-rape in which a physiotherapy student was raped by five men and a "boy," who did not think that was degrading enough and so penetrated her further with their fists and a rusty iron rod, destroying her intestines which eventually killed her; or the little five-year-old girl who was locked up by a neighbour, raped and found unconscious with candles and plastic bottles lodged in her genitalia; compared with them I was lucky. My attack and humiliation were marginally less brutal: an hour-long drive around Delhi while I was "reasoned with" about my company and ambitions as a working woman, several punches on the face when I refused to be "reasoned with" followed by three consecutive rapes with an excruciating finale of a writing pen being jammed up my anus before I was finally kicked and pushed out of the car onto a lonely side street, my head hitting the corner of a discarded old brick, leaving me at death's door.



"Can we see her?"
"How bad is she?"
"She's critical, ma'am. It's too early to tell. She's lost a lot of blood."
"Can we see her?" the victim's father repeated, speaking with forced stoicism he hoped would keep his despair at bay.
"Is she going to survive?" her sari-clad mother said, making no effort to hide her panic.
"We just need to see her," her father said.
"Of course. Please, come," the doctor said.

"Oh, beti, what have we done?" Her father had told himself, he had promised himself, his wife, his son and his supine daughter that he would not cry. It was a silent promise, a favour he had begged from God - not to cry, to be strong for his family and himself - and there he was letting everyone down, crying like a child at the feet of his little girl's inert, beaten body. Through his sobs he said, "I should never have agreed to you setting up... setting up a... that company... that damn company... on your own... going in... going into offices... Oh beti, going into offices... and meeting all sorts of --"

"Nonsense! The police should have listened to her, that's what," her mother said, sobbing as she spoke, wiping her daughter's bandaged brow. "This is that boy, that's what! Oh, meri bachchi, my poor sweet, beti! It's that boy she fired. He misbehaved with her the day she reprimanded him and said all that threatening nonsense to her... The dirty...! I told her then she should fire him long before she did. Then she tells us he keeps calling her and calling her and... and saying crude and inappropriate things to her and... and the police pay no attention, no attention...!"

"Stop it, both of you!" whispered a young man, standing at the entrance of the room with his fists over his mouth as if he were in front of a gruesome car crash he couldn't bear to look at yet couldn't move away from. "You think she can't hear? The doctors said she most probably could. Now save it for the police and get it together!" He punched his fists together and walked slowly towards his sister. "Hey chhoti, behen, haan meri behen, you'll be fine, chhoti, haan..."



Oh, Mummy and Daddy, don't do this to yourselves. Stop crying, both of you. I'll be fine. Look, look at me. I see you, can't you see that? Come on squeeze my hand. I know I can squeeze it back. Please take my hand. Just pick up my left hand...

And it's not your fault. It's no one's fault except those animals. And it's not what you think. That boy was a creep and the police did nothing - maybe they thought I was a prostitute even then, maybe they thought I deserved it being a woman working on my own? - but lucky for me he left for Hyderabad to harass his ex-girlfriend instead of me.

But maybe it is my fault. Maybe they're all right. Maybe I shouldn't have been a woman doing business on my own in India. Maybe it's too soon. Maybe this country isn't ready to treat women equally in the workplace? How can it be? Women are deemed inferior to men.
And yet we as a nation want to be a world super power?
Emerging India.

Some days I'm full of pride at how much we've achieved - it's amazing such an overly populated and deeply diverse "country" functions half as well as it does. Other days I'm deeply disappointed by the opportunity that seems to be passing us by.

I heard a lecture once that suggested emerging India lagged behind China not because of China's railroading, authoritarian rule versus our immature, noisy democracy, but because we don't look after our number one natural resource: our population. We aren't educated properly or kept healthy and on top of that: more than half of our human resources aren't even used in the workforce: women are meant to stay at home. Even some of our most successful, business-friendly politicians echo this.

Anil. You are a good brother. You are. And you are a kind man, you are. But even you are part of the problem. You had no issue at all convincing Mom and Dad that I should study in Singapore instead of following you to an American university, because Singapore was nearer, cheaper and safer, and you wanted to stay on in America to get your Masters and there was only so much money to go around. You needed a Masters in politics, you said, or it would be harder for you to secure a good job and a good wife.
Even you questioned how wise it was to be approaching businesses on my own and practically barged your way into my company when you saw it was taking off.

But maybe I should have listened to you? Maybe your presence would have protected me from the men who resented my success? Such a simple idea and some girl was making money from it! They smiled to my face, but grumbled to my back; they took my business card and then told their friends I was coming on to them.

Not everyone. There are many good, honourable Indian men out there. But there are enough of the other kind to make me walk with a slouch, put on weight, wear the bare-minimum of make-up, and smile sparingly.


The Accused

"Are you Kunal Narayan?"
"Yes... Hey! Get your hands off me! Hey... What have I done? Hey! Ow...!"


"I don't know... what you're talking about."
"Stop slurring and sit up straight when you're talking to me!"
"I'm sorry, sir... Half my teeth are gone... And my jaw... I can only slur... Right now this is how I talk only... sir... Please, sir... Please ask madam. She will tell you. I never touch her sir... Never, not once... I don't see her for months, sir... Ow! Please, no, sir... I don't even have a car, sir... "
"You don't have to have a car. You just have to have a friend who does. Where are they, those two filthy friends of yours?"
"You ask madam, please sir, I don't ever touch her. And I don't talk to her or even SMS her in months... And even before I never touch her."
"Oh, but you threatened her with so much, didn't you? I have it here on record, you bhenchod! Right here. Are you blind or what?"
"Sir, please, no, sir... Those... Those were... just words only... I never touch her..."
"Sit up and stop slurring!"
"Sorry, sir... I have three sisters. Believe me please. I would never dishonour a girl. I would never..."
"But you said she had better watch her step, didn't you? You said a young woman shouldn't be running a business on her own, didn't you? Five months ago, didn't you? And you followed her for a week as she checked her vending machines from office to office, didn't you? Answer me! No? No? Too tired now to talk, hey? Huh? Huh! How do you think it feels to be raped? Huh? Huh! Pass me that rod."



I'm not a total fool. I've had my share of leching and Eve-teasing. What woman hasn't? And I don't like it. So I dress appropriately, Madam Mirje, and I stay clear of isolated places, day or night. My distribution and storage centre is in a very populated industrial park, which I would never be alone in, and would rarely be in after dark. And it's not like I didn't have staff, a team of mostly good men, working for me to restock and clear the money from the vending machines. But occasionally stock and money went astray. Like it did with Kunal. So, though I had a tight system, I also began to randomly check the machines myself to ensure both quality control and employee honesty. But I did it in the cold light of day and I always took a guard with me. Yes, I had a security guard, would you believe? I'm not a fool. And we are talking about very swish offices, not some trashy business parks. So, no, I'm not stupid or foolhardy. I ran a very professional, secure and successful business.

Yet I was raped still? I guess as the video says - it's my fault, yaar.
No. This wasn't about getting robbed and raped by an angry ex-employee. Though I'm sure the man behind this would be only too delighted for it to seem that way. It was about more than that. And I pity the wrongly accused and what the police might do to him.


Investigation Team

"It's not adding up, sir. I don't think he's our guy and beating a confession out of him isn't going to help make women on the street any safer or this department seem any better, any better, sir," said the Inspector, who spoke in a clipped voice and stood almost as if at attention before his boss, having politely refused the seat offered to him. It was a fussy manner the young and ambitious Inspector always adopted when he felt he had either the moral high ground or the winning hammer with which to crack a case. This time he felt he had both.

"Chalo then. Bolo," said the Assistant Commissioner of Police, who valued his subordinate's skills but found his officious disposition tiresome.

"So, her friend, Vikram, says he was with her all day, helping her change out the supplies and collect the money in all her Connaught Place vending machines. He left her in the Barakhamba Road Cafe Coffee Day Lounge around 5:25pm, where she often worked on her laptop for hours. On the night in question one worker says she stayed for nearly two hours, another worker says more like two-and-half to three, fine. The street chai wallah says sometime at the end of his day, which is around 8, well after dark and after the crowds had thinned out, he heard a minor ruckus on the street, two young men shouting at a woman, saying she's a bad mother and her son is sick. She tried to walk away from them but they pushed her into a waiting Ambassador, which is where we pick her up. We looked through all the CCTV footage along Barakhamba Road that night and found this," he handed the ACP his mobile phone on which he had downloaded the CCTV footage. "You can't see the plates, but that road can only go straight into Connaught Place, so we were able to pick up the car more clearly later on, on other CCTV footage. We've tracked the car down to a Surdi taxi company, which says they only procured the car a year ago. But how could this Kunal, who's from Hyderabad and drifts in and out of Delhi with very few friends here, get a car that belonged to a family taxi company run by a bunch of Surds in central Delhi, who genuinely seemed to not know any Kunal let alone anyone from Hyderabad?"

"Is Kunal still in our custody?"
"Yes, sir."
"Hmmph. And this Vikram fellow?"

"No, he's not a suspect, sir. But look at these pictures of the car, if you will. If you can just ignore those paan stains, and even the blood, and look instead at the floor. That's not just dirt, it's builder's dirt all over the floor - concrete, clay, even chips of brick, on closer inspection. Some taxi, huh? But forget the dirt, that just made me think, what has this car been used for and where? So we stripped the car down completely and guess what we found? Several pieces of paper, most useless except these two piles. The first group was found in a wad, under the passenger's seat, as if it was part of a stack of papers that had been ripped up apart. Most presumably thrown out, but these sections left behind. It's looks like a legal document of some sort, maybe a business agreement, I don't know. We're getting it analyzed. But it's clear they're pretty new print-offs, the ink is not at all faded, see. But, more interestingly, shoved in the way back of the car, which we only found when pulling the interiors apart, was this - these two pieces of paper, which I believe are most crucial. An invoice from a business in Delhi, you can just make out there, see, AMC Food and Beverage, AMC Supplies, officially. It's an old supply company. Shut down over three years ago. But the owners are two brothers - one has been running a tourist company, which explains the link to the taxi firm, but is also trying to open a fancy sandwich shop in a new business park in Gurgaon, which probably explains the construction dirt. But the other brother, the other brother has stayed with food and beverage supplies - specializing in running kitchens for office canteens, including a sideline in, most crucially, sir, vending machines."



You see, a competitor - a man in his fifties with two daughters of his own, so he told me - had been hassling me for months to sell my business to him. First he tried to woo me. Then, when I did not take kindly to his advances, he became more and more aggressive and then brutish. And I am a fool because I didn't go to the police? But why should I when I went to them before about Kunal and they practically said it was only to be expected that I would have a male employee trouble me when I fired him? I was a successful female boss, what did I expect? It's like that deodorant commercial points out - a woman isn't a boss, she's bossy; she's not persuasive, she's pushy. It would blow over they said. And it did. They called him, scared him and that was that. But I didn't think this new harasser, this older, sleazy businessman, would be so easily put off by a call from the police, so I didn't bother.

And I didn't want to worry my parents. Or give my brother any excuse for muscling in on my company. And I didn't want those people who thought a woman shouldn't be running a company on her own - meeting businessmen, handing out business cards, dealing with cash on her own - I didn't want them to think they were right. So I kept my mouth shut and hoped it too would blow over.

But then yesterday my security guard called in sick with a very iffy, weak excuse even he didn't sound like he believed. Same space of ten minutes my competitor phones me and asks to see me - he has an offer he knows I won't be able to refuse. I hang up on him. Because it was Friday, I didn't want the machines full of money over the weekend, so I called my mate Vikram and he came with me for most of the runs, but then he had to go pick his aunt up from the airport and I abandoned the last two pick-ups. Instead I worked on my laptop from a busy Cafe Coffee Day until 8pm and then I headed home. And it was there, trying to find a taxi along a well-lit road off busy Connaught Place they grabbed me. First there was a tamasha as one pretended to be my husband and the other my brother, yelling at me that our "baby son" was sick and I should have been at home nursing him and not out meeting other men. I had no idea what they were talking about, but I knew they were trouble, and so I quickly walked away from them. But it was a trap. I went directly in the direction of a waiting car, which they shoved me into.

No one batted an eye. Naturally, who was going to disagree with such sentiments and stop a wayward wife and mother from being pushed in to her "husband's" car?



"As another one of our sisters fights for her life, it's clear from the investigation that this was blatant misogynist intimidation of the highest and most gruesome kind from one failed businessman against his younger, more successful lady competitor!" said the ageing female politician, whose voice became louder and more shrill with each adjective as she spoke to a national TV anchor inside a brightly lit studio. "He set his dogs on her to rape her and make it look like a pathetic robbery, it's at the very least criminal conspiracy! We're calling on the courts to try the mastermind behind this disgusting brutality on rape charges too!"

"But, madam, this man did not rape the girl, the woman. The CCTV footage shows 8 minutes after his goons grabbed her he left the said vehicle and from a very public place. How can he be tried as a rapist?"

"Listen, you and your viewers should know the facts! It was because of him she was raped! His goons abducted her off the street with the sole intent of getting her to sign over her business to him. The police have found pieces of torn-up contract proving this, the stupid fools!" What began as finger wagging by the mid-ranking opposition politician evolved into a swishing motion with her whole hand as if she were knocking her sentences off a shelf in front of her. "And when she refuses to sign it - heroically, but tragically, sticking to her principles - he turns her to his wolves. It is beyond intimidation! It is rape even if he did not do the penetrating himself! Is a man who hires an assassin not done for murder? Is Hitler not guilty of killing a million Jews even if he did not operate the gas chamber? So why is this hideous man not being tried for the rape he instigated?"

"OK, OK, well as you and our viewers know, our braveheart's condition has taken a turn for the worst. If she dies, and god willing she will not, but if she does he might then be tried for murder."

"Fine! Let us cross that bridge when we come to it. But for now, why is the law not punishing the men who think it's fine to violate a woman - in this case just because she has short hair, runs a business and is successful - by using rape against her and not try him for that crime he instigates? Why? And don't even get me started on one of them being an underage rapist and so allowed to be free in just three years ! Never mind that rapists aren't given the death penalty, unless, sir, you would like to have that debate again?"

"Madam, with all due respect, though you are an opposition MP, you have sat on many committees for women's rights in this country over the years and very little has come out of any of those. Do you think the problem goes deeper than the bails and verdicts and sentencing passed down to the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against women? Isn't there a lack of political will to really address the fundamental issues affecting women in India?"



It was an offer I couldn't refuse. He was right. I couldn't refuse.
And so here I am... on my death bed.
I thought I would pull through. I feel so alive inside my head for long moments of time, absolutely cognizant and aware of every horrible thing, the nightmare I can not wake up from, thoughts and arguments and regrets rushing through the mass transit of my mind, keeping me alive, anger pulsating through my veins, disgust with everyone and everything, keeping me alive, but hurting and tired, so tired, I know I should not look at the light - there really is a light, crazy, right? - but my head hurts and my heart aches and the anger gives way to sadness and despair and the light is so beautiful and not at all too bright but soft and beckoning and peaceful. Instinct tells me not to look at it, because as I stare everything else begins to fade out and, though it's peaceful, I fear it's death, waiting.







Forgive me if I've come across as too bitter, or biased, or anti-man, or anti-police, or too cynical, too hopeless, too angry too bitter too furious too pitiless. Or too pitiful.
I don't want to die.
I want to be the rape victim who survives and then doesn't shut up about the crime.

I promise, God, I promise, I will not be ashamed. I promise I will not run and hide. I promise I will funnel all this anger into something useful. I will go back to work and I will show other women they can do it on their own too. Because we can. We will use our intelligence, our passion, our creativity and wit, whatever it takes. We will form co-operatives if we have to. And we will find the good men out there to join us too. And we will convince men and women alike not to tell their daughters how to dress or to stay home, but to tell their sons to behave, control their aggression and treat women as equals. Because India is changing and for the better as long as we stand strong against ignorant, medieval and inhumane convictions. Then only can we progress . We will go on strike if we have to, if not in the home where we face our men's ire, then at work. Let's all go on strike and see if India can survive without women! This anger should fuel us. Or at least, at least, at least, change us to see women as equal and not inferior to men.

And I promise, God, I will speak out not just about my case - who cares if no one marries me - but I will help other women too. And not just those in the privileged class. I promise, God, I will campaign till the end. Just let me live.

I want to sit up and press my Mom's short, fat body into mine and rock her to sleep, child turned parent as it's supposed to be. She is not supposed to be saying goodbye to me. She looks so unbelievably sad. And Daddy is just pacing and shaking his head and not eating. No one is eating or sleeping. Anil has been crying, I can see. But he keeps pumping his fists and biting his nails, he too is angry and bewildered. We are all so angry and bewildered.
We are all so angry.





We Are Angry is a fictional story. But it is built from facts.

A swell of revulsion spread across India, and the world, as details emerged about the barbaric gang-rape in New Delhi on December 16, 2012. Revulsion ruptured into anger. We were all angry. Beyond pissed off, out on the streets, mad as hell: a pit in our stomachs, an acrid tang in the back of our throats, and anger pumping through our veins. We were demanding justice, some even baying for blood.

Then came reports of a 5-year-old girl who faced a similar fate. And another.

Rape stories in India now pepper the newspapers, TV screens and internet every day. Did it become fashionable to report such news that was always there or did more victims feel a new courage to report such crimes? Or, as some suggested, was there really a new wave of brutality against women in a country struggling in its embrace of "modernity"? The anger had spiralled virulently into febrile navel gazing.

Introspecting. Questioning. Pontificating. Feeling repulsed, feeling scared, persecuted, calling for castration, calling for death, calling for tighter laws, calling for speed, calling for a change in beliefs, calling on God, calling off the shame. We were begging the government to care and the police to police. And for people - men and women - to think of women differently, to think of women as equals.

We are angry.
Keep debating.
We are angry.
Keep creating.
We are angry.
Keep talking.


The Medium

We Are Angry was produced by Digital Fables, a multimedia production house interested in making compelling stories with a wide range of media to add context and depth.

There has been a surge in multimedia storytelling in reportage and memoirs from both mainstream media like the New York Times and independent initiatives like Cowbird and CDS. The Electronic Literature Organization and others have long been fostering transmedia/transliteracy/new media/hypertext narrative fusions of video, art and games. Yet rarely is the wealth of media available - photographs, video, soundbites, soundscapes, good old fashioned writing, background facts and editorials, statistics, graphics, cartoons, animation, and more - all used in fiction. Nor are other realms of art - visual art, performance art, music - very often fused with text to create a new storytelling experience that technology now enables.

Why? We are living in mixed media times and yet rarely do we find the media coalescing in a truly integrated and artistic way, a way that could take storytelling - especially issue-based storytelling - to another level, not replacing books or the linear text experience, but offering another construct.

We Are Angry is an attempt, a humble first attempt, at doing this: creating 360 degree digital fiction.

The Message

Digital Fables is spearheaded by Lyndee Prickitt, an American woman who has lived in India for nine years. As a woman, a mother of a daughter and a multimedia journalist, the message of We Are Angry is as important as the medium, digital fiction.

After the upsettingly brutal December 16, 2012 gang-rape in New Delhi people in India, and beyond, felt a need to express their anger, fears and deliberations about why this was happening. Women and men took to the streets to put a voice to their anger. Social media swelled with introspection and pontification. Anonymous mourners created real life and online commemorations. Movie stars satirized and campaigned. Artists painted street walls and canvasses. Actors staged plays in local parks and international cultural festivals. Screenwriters wrote movies. Singers sang.

The conversation across the nation changed. Women and their rights was not just a matter for earnest do-gooders and NGOs to beat on about, but the topic du jour and the inspiration for a panoply of expression for weeks and months. And then the din quietened. People tired of talking about how women, at home and abroad, have been and should be treated.

We Are Angry is an effort to keep the conversation alive - fusing traditional fictional text storytelling with other media, bolstered by real news content and annotations, and showcasing a range of art and expression from a team of people who want to harness their anger and work creatively for change.



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We Are Angry is a DIGITAL FABLES production


Writer Lyndee Prickitt
Executive producer Lyndee Prickitt
Producer Rahul Shivshankar
Assistant producer Anuja Jaiman
Pankaj Singh Kaintura
Editorial assistant Anuja Jaiman
Researcher Lyndee Prickitt
Assistant researcher Anuja Jaiman
Copy editor Anuja Jaiman
Mark Stewart
Translator Anuja Jaiman
Veena Chauhan
Consulting editor Anuja Jaiman
Mark Stewart
Mekhela Deva
Rahul Shivshankar
Videographer and Director Lyndee Prickitt
Assistant director Natraj Hasrat
Audio recorder Lyndee Prickitt, Anuja Jaima
Audio editor Lyndee Prickitt
Video editor Lyndee Prickitt, Slugfilms (background video)
Graphic designer Rajnish Kashyap, Lyndee Prickitt
Web design team Macavity Digital
Senior web designer Rajnish Kashyap
Senior programmer Saransh Dhingra


Policeman 1 Natraj Hasrat
Policeman 2 Pankaj Singh Kaintura
Witness, Preeti Chopra Meenakshi Thapa
Victim Deepmala Tiwari
Driver SD Mohan
Eve tease audio - voice Natraj Hasrat
Eve tease audio - voice Pankaj Singh Kaintura
Eve tease audio - voice Gaurav Chaudhary
Eve tease audio - voice Sumeet Kumar
Eve tease audio - voice Mohit Yadav
Eve tease audio - voice Priyank Thapa
Eve tease audio - voice Anuj Rawat
Eve tease audio - voice Rohit Tiwari
Eve tease audio - voice Akshat Jaiman
Eve tease audio - voice Arushi Sen
Rapist, the word, audio montage - voice Adnan Abidi
Rapist, the word, audio montage - voice Anuja Jaiman
Rapist, the word, audio montage - voice Arushi Sen
Rapist, the word, audio montage - voice Lyndee Prickitt
Rapist, the word, audio montage - voice Jyoti Chauhan
Rapist, the word, audio montage - voice Veenaji Chauhan


Artwork Nivedita Siddharthan
Laila Borrie -
Music Aura for Adobe
On screen contributors Abhilasha Sharma
Amrita Mishra
Anuja Jaiman
Deepmala Tiwari
JM Gayatri
Gaurav Chaudhary
Jyoti Pande
Kavita Singh
Mekhela Deva
Meenakshi Thapa
Naina Pande
Pankaj Singh Kaintura
Preeti Chopra
Rajnish Kashyap
Sumeet Kumar
Susan Lamb
Toria Burrows
Veenaji Chauhan


Chapter cover, 1/Victim Lyndee Prickitt
Chapter cover, 4/Victim Lyndee Prickitt
Chapter cover, 6/Doctor Lyndee Prickitt
Chapter cover, 7/Victim Ankur Sharma
Chapter cover, 9/Victim Laila Borrie & Rumi Banerjee
Chapter cover, 10/Family Lyndee Prickitt
Chapter cover, 11/Victim Delhi University street art initiative
Chapter cover, 12/The Accused Lyndee Prickitt
Chapter cover, 13/Victim Delhi University street art initiative
Chapter cover, 14/Investigation Team Lyndee Prickitt
Chapter cover, 15/Victim Laila Borrie -
Chapter cover, 16/Politician Lyndee Prickitt
Chapter cover, 17/Victim Melita Stell D'Souza
Chapter cover, 18/Rapists Nivedita Siddhartharn
Chapter cover, 19/Victim Pragya Gupta
Homepage montage design Lyndee Prickitt
Homepage montage art The Fearless Collective
- Amulya Jayapal
- Asha Das
- Divya Arun
- Neha Rawat
- Nitesh Mohanty
- Maheswari Janarthanan
- Laila Borrie
- Delhi University street art initiative
- Stinkfish
- Stinkfish and Nivedita Siddharthan
- Siddharth Sarathi, To Be Used illustration
Homepage montage photos Ravi Choudhary
Lyndee Prickitt
Sushil Kumar, HT Photo
Homepage screen grabs Abused "SHE," by The Sardar Rappers
A Song For the Victim, by Mayur Sharma
Bell Bajao commercials, by Breakthrough TV
Death For Rape - A Tribute Song to Damini
Insaaf, by Govind RV, (GRV)
Nirbhaya, the play
Rape: It's Your Fault, by All India Bakchod
Shine a Light, by Mellina Barnett and William Playle
End video montage design Lyndee Prickitt
End video montage art includes Delhi University street art initiative
The Fearless Collective:
-Angana Barua
-Pragya Gupta
-Shilo Shiv Suleman
Siddharth Sarathi, To Be Used illustration
Stinkfish and Nivedita Siddharthan
End video montage photos Ravi Choudhary
Lyndee Prickitt
End video montage video clips Abused "SHE," by The Sardar Rappers
Bell Bajao commercials, by Breakthrough TV
Dastak - Voice Against Women Atrocities - Part 1
Kalki Koechlin at India Today Conclave
Nirbhaya, the play
Rape: It's Your Fault, by All India Bakchod
Respect the gender who gave birth to you, by Nitish Bharti
She, by Samiir and Itisha
Shine a Light, by Mellina Barnett and William Playle
Insaaf, by Govind RV, (GRV)
End video montage screen grabs A Song For the Victim, by Mayur Sharma
Illustration, Crying Wolf Lyndee Prickitt
Illustration, To Be Used Siddharth Sarathi
Illustration, Tree of Disregard Rajnish Kashyap
Logo art Stinkfish and Nivedita Siddharthan
Logo design Macavity Digital/Rajnish Kashyap


Afterword music Aura for Adobe
Emerging music montage (11/Victim) Dhol Jageero Da by Panjabi MC
Slowly, Slowly by Sachin-Jigar & Talia Bentson
End audio montage (19/Victim) by Lyndee Prickitt, featuring music by Antony Clare
Victim's music (17/Victim) by Antony Clare


Ambassador car pictures Lyndee Prickitt
Apsara picture Lyndee Prickitt
Chai wallah picture Lyndee Prickitt
Delhi University street art pictures Anuja Jaiman
Delhi University street art pictures Anuja Jaiman
Evidence pictures Lyndee Prickitt
Long haired Indian women (montage) Indian miniature paintings
Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum
The Hindu
Hindustan Times
Paan stain pictures Anuja Jaiman
Protest pictures (Dec 2012 demos) Ravi Choudhary


To all of the above whose input has been invaluable and to a few more people too (in alphabetical order):
Bonnie Prickitt
Chandni Dabas
Charlie Prickitt
Clare Stewart
Darryl Bihm
Deepthy Menon
Jo Winterbottom
Jyoti Pande
Kavita Singh
Marty Prickitt
Nita Bhallah
Veenaji Chauhan
Vidya Gupta

Table Of Contents


Some of India's less progressive minds tackle
the problem of rape

"It is sometimes right and sometimes wrong." -
Babulal Gaur, Home Minister Madhya Pradesh
"Boys will be boys, they make mistakes... Will you hang them for rape?" -
Mulayam Singh Yadav, Samajwadi Party chief
"Just because India achieved freedom at midnight does not mean that women can venture out after dark." -
Botsa Satyanarayan, INC legislature from state assembly of Andhra Pradesh
"Rapes take place also because of a woman's clothes, her behavior and her presence at inappropriate places." -
Asha Mirje, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and a member of the Maharashtra Women's Commission
"I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady." -
Manohar Lal Sharma, defense lawyer in Delhi Dec 16, 2012 gang rape case

For more read:

Short skirts, bad stars and chow mein: why India's women get raped - Reuters

Political potshots: Why me, asks modern woman - Times of India

Shut up, please! -

C R Y I N G   W O L F








Click the words for more

The tyranny of tradition

"What drives otherwise-decent people to suffocate or drown newborn girls? Simply put, girls are often an unbearable burden. The practice of giving dowry for marriage is entrenched in all strata of society, and dowry demands can financially cripple poor families. In some parts of India, ancient property laws mean that only sons can inherit land. Through this cultural lens, sons are inevitably viewed as a form of family insurance. Sex-determination techniques mean that parents don't even need to wait for their girls to be born before killing them." (The Lancet 2/2011).
Read More


Used to cook
Used to clean
Used to fetch water
Used to host fancy parties
Used to look rich
Used to bear children
Used as a vessel for sexual release
Used as a punching bag
Used to boost egos

Artist: Siddharth Sarathi

"Nirbhaya" is one of the many nicknames given to the Dec 16 rape victim as it's illegal to publicise a rape victim's real name. Other nicknames were, Damini (lightning), Jagruti (awareness), Amanat (treasure).

child_marraige Form Video Sexual Abuse cradle_to_grave HITTING FETUS RIP

The tyranny of tradition

"In countries like India, female infanticide is perpetuated by a fierce social pressure that favours boys. But what drives otherwise-decent people to suffocate or drown newborn girls? Simply put, girls are often an unbearable burden."
(The Lancet 2/2011)
Read More

Women in India are routinely asked to give their husband or father's name on forms and applications - whether it be official tax forms, bank applications, a doctor's office registration, even resident association membership forms - underlining the inference that women are not individuals of equal status to men, but the possession or wards of men.
Read more


Many Indian women are trapped in the
dark ages

"It's a miracle a woman survives in India. Even before she is born, she is at risk of being aborted. As a child, she faces abuse, rape and early marriage and even when she marries, she is killed for dowry. If she survives all of this, as a widow she is discriminated against and given no rights over inheritance or property." Read more