By Krati Gupta
Edited by Nidhi Singh, Junior Editor, The Indian Economist
India, my country, renowned for devi-puja , has lately been condemned globally for the December 2012 rape and brutal death of its beloved daughter Nirbhaya. A horrendous incident which shook the entire world. Merely a couple of months passed, and yet again we saw the news channels flashing the reports of two cousin sisters raped and later hung to the branches of the banyan tree, their dead bodies swaying with the blowing wind, in Badaun District of Uttar Pradesh. Even after this the wrongdoers in our country are so fearless that another gang rape case was reported within eight hours in the same state. When questioned , a defiant CM Akhilesh Yadav remarked, “Why do you ask? Aren’t you safe? So, why worry?!” The case was finally passed on to CBI after the state government faced much criticism due to the insensitive attitude adopted in handling the case. While CBI is still probing into the matter, the status quo is still dismal. According to National Crime Records Bureau, everyday 93 women are being raped in the country. 33,707 rapes were reported in India in 2013 which is an increased figure as compared to the previous years. The actual figure is believed to be much larger than this because quite a sizeable number of them go unreported: a tormented women’s voice is muzzled either by threatening her for her life or posing the fear of society or in the name of family’s status and respect.
With statements from politicians like, “Boys commit mistakes like these once in a while, that doesn’t mean they should be hanged to death. These laws need to be changed.” , “Women who are raped also need to be punished. Women having sex with their consent need to be hanged too.” and blaming fast food for creating hormonal imbalance which creates the ‘urge’ to rape; it doesn’t require an Einstein’s mind to establish that it’s not the laws but the politicians who need to be changed. Power resting in the hands of individuals with such outlook is an imminent threat to society.
Not only in India, Pakistan has also witnessed increasing cases of honour killing. Farzana Parveen, was stoned to death, outside the court by her own family members. Her fault, marrying the man she loved , who was falsely accused by her own of abducting her.
The question is why? Why is such a callous and insensitive attitude being followed towards females?
The patriarchal mindset and parochial views of the society are to blame. It needs to be understood that rape is NEVER the victim’s fault. No girl or women, in any circumstances, deserves it or is asking for it. Associating rape with clothes or the dressing sense of the victim is gratuitous, because if that would have been the scenario, then there won’t be plethora of child abuse cases being reported frequently. A recent one which outraged public protests and aggression is the rape of 6 year old girl by two gym instructors at a public school in Bangalore. The situation is so grave that neither the schools, workplaces or even their own homes can guarantee female safety and a risk free atmosphere. Also in many cases, it has been surmised that the police, the supposed protectors of janta, themselves favour the accused and refrain from filing a report against them. The hospitals refuse to do a preliminary medical check up of sufferer because they don’t want to get meddled into a police case. The victims are treated with apathy and it seems as if they are the ones who have committed a crime.
Enough is Enough. Rape is a mentality, which needs to be uprooted as soon as possible. This can be done by educating the children right from the beginning about this heinous crime, inculcating in them a sense of respect towards the other gender. Schools should make sure that students learn basic self defence by arranging various workshops and summer camps. Making a child aware of the good and the bad touch and providing a counsellor whom the child can trust and talk to if any such thing happens, should also be on high priority.
Gone are the days when women were only meant to raise children, cook meals for the family and clean the house. Government needs to take incentives, to increase the female literacy rate, which will help in women empowerment and will also make them financially strong and independent. Also, the laxity in the police system needs to be taken care of. Following the Badaun incident, the Union women and Child welfare minister Maneka Gandhi, has ordered the formation of “one stop rape crisis cells”, for speedy enquiry and complaint addressal in such sensitive matters. With the first of its kind now set up in Bhopal, this can prove to be an effective step if implemented appropriately. Justice meted to rape victims after years is of no use, seeing the accused roam freely is no less than a painful suffering in itself. Hence, fast track courts are an urgent need of the hour.
The society has an important role to play: instead of pitying the victims and segregating them from normal life, they should be treated with love and compassion and shown equal respect and dignity. The scars of the torment can be reduced, if not completely healed, by this.
Krati is currently a Pre final year student pursuing chemical engineering from Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology, Allahabad. She loves watching movies and posing for pictures. Apart from juggling between the concepts of thermodynamics and heat transfer during college hours, she is a greenhorn at writing and is highly optimistic about exploring the vast horizon in this field . She believes penning down her thoughts will make at least a small difference to the world.