17 Men Charged in Gang Rape of 11-Year-Old Deaf Girl in India
Police say the girl was repeatedly targeted since the beginning of the year.
Editor’s note: This post contains language and details of sexual violence.
Seventeen men have been charged with the gang rape of an 11-year-old deaf girl in India, reports the BBC.
The attacks, which took place repeatedly since the start of the year, were orchestrated by a lift operator who lived in the same building as the child, according to the report.
“We have decided not to represent these characters,” said G Mohana Krishnan, the Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHCAA) president, in a statement reported by the Guardian, announcing that no lawyers would appear on behalf of the suspects. “After seeing the entire incident and also the condition of the victim, we have said we will not appear for the accused.”
This marks the first time lawyers have boycotted a group of suspects, according to the statement, illustrating the community’s outrage over the alleged events.
Some of the accused were attacked by a group of lawyers outside of the court appearance, until police were able to control the scene, noted the BBC, referencing a video shared on social media of a man being dragged from a staircase and beaten.
The 66-year-old lift operator who lived in the same complex as the girl allegedly first targeted and sexually assaulted the girl in January, then invited other men to join and film subsequent assaults, reported the Hindustan Times.
The 17 men, which included security guards, plumbers, and others, were arrested after the girl's family filed a complaint at the local All Women Police Station, noted the report. A police official stated that the girl had identified all of the accused and four immediately confessed. Authorities are currently holding all men until July 31, and continue to search for more individuals associated with the incidents.
In January an 8-year-old girl was kidnapped, drugged, and raped for five days before being killed with a rock. That case led to the introduction of the death penalty for the rape of girls under the age of 12 in India, added the Guardian.
In June, India was determined to be the least safe country in the world to be a woman, according to a report by Thomas Reuters Foundation.
If you have experienced sexual abuse, call the free, confidential National Sexual Assault hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) in the US, or access 24-7 help online by visiting online.rainn.org. You can find international resources here.