In yet another shocking incident involving rape survivors in India, a woman was forced to balance an 88-pound (40-kg) rock on her head to prove her purity.
The incident came to light after the victim, who became pregnant by her attacker, was denied an abortion by Gujarat High Court in India and was later ordered to give up her baby to the government.
As if her past ordeals were not traumatizing enough, she now has to undergo a so-called sanctity test for an unspecified amount of time.
According to India Today, the woman says she is constantly living in fear and her rapist, who is currently in prison, has threatened to kill her as soon as he is released.
The ritual, called Agnipariksha – or the “test of fire” – demands a woman to go through extreme, often fatal tests, to prove she is pure enough to continue to live with her husband.
It’s an ancient practice, one that doesn’t have any relevance in the modern Indian society. However, the ritual is still carried out in many conservative and remote parts of the country.
This incident comes almost two weeks after the Gujarat High Court overturned its initial ruling barring a 14-year-old rape survivor from having an abortion.
Stories like these continue to shock India – and the world in general – especially since the country has seen much progress with respect to sexual violence against women recently.
It has been over a year since India’s high profile New Delhi rape case, when a student was gang raped aboard a moving bus on Dec. 16, 2012.
The public outcry that followed the incident, along with the government’s legislative response to sexual violence against women, was perceived as a wave of change in India. Considered a major victory for the women’s movement in the country, a landmark bill was passed in March last year, containing harsher punishments for rapists.
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