From Buses to Hospitals, Women Are Safe Nowhere. Now 21-Yr-Old on Ventilator Raped in an ICU

Social Commentary

From Buses to Hospitals, Women Are Safe Nowhere. Now 21-Yr-Old on Ventilator Raped in an ICU

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

Every day brings in the unfortunate reminder that women in India are safe nowhere. In a disturbing case reported from Gurugram, a 21-year-old woman was allegedly raped last week at the intensive care unit of Fortis Hospital. The patient, who is suffering from tuberculosis, had been placed on the ventilator and was semi-conscious at the time of the incident.

The woman’s ordeal came to light after she regained consciousness on Tuesday. In a handwritten note, the patient informed her father about the assault, following which a case was filed at the city’s Sushant Lok police station. According to the police, the family suspects that the incident took place between October 21, when their daughter was admitted, and October 27, when she gained consciousness.

The woman, a resident of Mahendragarh, had been admitted to the ICU after she complained of breathing trouble. Now following the allegations, the survivor’s family has requested the officials their daughter’s medical check-up should be conducted at a government hospital, a mandatory procedure in a rape case.

Presently, the cops are on the search for Vikas, the accused named by the patient. DCP (East) Maqsood Ahmed has confirmed that a case of rape has been registered and that the investigation has already been started. “We are probing the case. We are trying to find out if Vikas worked at the hospital. The woman’s parents are not aware of it. We would be able to get clarity once we get a statement from the patient. We are probing the CCTV footage to get clues,” the officer told the reporters.

However, as the patient is still deemed unfit and continues to stay under treatment, the police will record her statement once she has been declared stable by the hospital. The victim will be provided counseling once she recovers, the police added.

“How can anyone do such a thing with a patient who is on a ventilator?” the victim’s father said, a sentiment echoed by many.

The National Commission for Women has written to the Commissioner of Police, Gurugram “seeking adherence to MHA guidelines of completing probe in 2 months in cases of sexual assault.”

But where do women go to “avoid” being raped?

Crimes against women are on the rise alarmingly so. Just claiming “Beti Bachao” is not enough. When will the words turn to actions?