Who is a virgin?

The staged version of the incident left me aghast. I was dumbstruck and dismayed thinking about what she would have underwent! My conscience revolted from within and my body simmered in rage. I witnessed the true story of an acid attack victim in Bihar. She was a beautiful girl with innocent dreams of being an academician; she knew little about the cost of aiming to live upto one’s dreams. She declined the proposal of the local rowdy guy chasing her for marriage and to avenge this denial he threw acid on her whole body while she was fast asleep in the night.

At present she is little more than a lump of flesh; her senses have given in to the acid, she cannot see and struggles to hear and taste and feel through her burnt body parts. But her pain and agony doesn’t end here. she battles for justice, appeals day and night to a dead system that has led the accused should roam around scot-free; she has the only appeal to see him behind the bars. Her struggle is not easy because of  insufficient money and physical inabilities. Her father has spent almost all his modest income in her expensive treatment.

Acid attacks are a common phenomenon in india. In last three months, 56 acid attacks have been reported in the capital city! It is supposedly the most easy way to avenge a foul relationship or a grave insult. Men perform this heinous crime because they are confident of inflicting a lifetime punishment upon the girl without getting executed for it.

Last year, when a girl was brutally gang raped in Delhi, people of all ages gathered in numbers to protest. They were angry at the incident and apprehensive that their family women might also fall prey to such gruesomeness; there were strong appeals to change the law for rape in our country. People demanded death penalty for the accused. Although our police does not believe in getting their fingers on the criminals (because that disturbs their comfortable lives) but the immense pressure from the mob made them unwillingly take a step ahead in this direction.

The girl who was gang raped, died. But the acid attack victim (and many others like her) dies every day. There are only few who feel for the innocent victims and raise voice, the rest form the society that ignores and despises them. Perhaps in our country people deem the forceful loss of virginity as the only crime against women; for many women just need to have a protected hymen.

Is virginity to be understood only in biological terms? No! Apart from its literal meaning, the term connotes being ‘unscathed’ and ‘untouched’. A woman who is scarred both physically and mentally for her whole life (through forceful penetration or acid) is not a virgin and since that has happened against her discretion, justice should be given to her. In fact, a person’s face, appearance and way of conduct, is a part of her social identity; an acid attack crushes this identity completely and renders the woman a slave at the mercy of others. The society ignores her, avoids her, is scared of her because she looks ugly; she is no more taken as the person she used to be!

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