Ever since the rape of a 23 year old girl in Delhi took place, there was a sudden uproar in the capital. It was truly a shocking moment for all us to learn about the incident. The police, sensing the anger in the society, were quick on their feet and arrested the guilty. The media covered the entire sequence of events right from the day the rape-survivor was admitted to hospital till today and will continue to do so in the coming weeks too. There was a sudden increase in the discussions and the debates in media about the sexual abuse and attacks on women in the society. There were flash mobs in the capital which tried to break into Rastrapathi Bhavan. This was followed by police lathi-charge, water guns and tear gas, finally resulting in a death of a police constable.
The Government, sensing the trouble in around the corner, was quick enough to take preventive steps. Our silent man, Manmohan ji, finally broke the silence by briefing the nation and assured protection and safety to women in the country. Of course, this briefing was more in news because of ‘Teek Hai’ episode. Now, every day or so, I get to see the news link from IBN Live about the rape incidents occurring in India. Atleast about 2 or 3 rape cases are being reported by media. This makes me wonder whether we are in such a devastated state of raping our women as our daily routine.
This brings me to question myself, “What’s happening to our society?”
Having grown up studying about the culture and heritage of our country, I always regarded our society as a much matured and widely respected in the world for the values and practices we follow. But of lately, all this seems to be a myth. I am deeply saddened to know that what I read in the textbooks seems to be far from reality.
I was told that women were respected in our society. We personified our India and states in the form of women. Our Parliament provided women with 33% reservation and there was a bill ‘long’ pending to provide 50% reservation. We have seats earmarked for women in buses and trains. We have special ladies trains and cabs running in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. We have exclusive women police stations in many states. Having said all these, at least 4 to 5 women are sexually abused or harassed or raped as you read this. Where are we heading?
I followed a lot of debates on this particular issue and think the following are some of the root causes:
- Women treated as a commodity
- Gender bias towards to men as superior and women as inferior
- Inequality of gender ratio
- General opinion on teasing or abusing women as “Fun” and part of a man’s life
- Ineffective laws
- Miserable failure of police department
- Socially-ill and unresponsive society
Women treated as a commodity
AS long as we see women as a commodity, our society as a whole will be heading back towards a uncivilized one. With already many sex-rackets busted not only in metros but in teir-II and III cities reflect the grave situation we are in. Unless and until there is a change in this attitude, I am sorry to say that we are completed fucked up as a society!
Gender bias towards to men as superior and women as inferior
Since being a patriarchal society, there is a general tendency of bias towards men. For centuries, women were crushed and harassed. Since hundred or hundred-fifty years, there was a change in this and we witnessed women coming out of their houses and subsequently rise to greater heights in most of the fields. But there is still a feeling, “After all, she is a woman.” This should change and this can happen only if we teach our next generation that everyone is equal. It’s high time we teach our sons how to behave in the society, control their carnal desires and respect women. And I can see some positive change in this aspect. But a lot has still to be done.
Inequality of gender ratio
With gender ration drastically falling year by year, there is a high chance that this leads to more harassment and abuse towards women. I am deeply saddened to know about the situation of female-foeticide in India. The Government should effectively plan awareness programs and implement the laws against such cases. We are in a society that kills a to-be woman even before their birth. What a shame? With less number of woman, there is a high chance that they would be a high level of abuse and harassment, given the nature of our men in the society.
General opinion on teasing or abusing women as “Fun” and part of a man’s life
As long as the women abuse and harassment are treated as ‘Fun’, the society badly suffers from a male-chauvinistic culture. Just think that your sister or mother or daughter is abused the same way you abuse someone’s sister or mother or daughter, how do you feel? The same applies to domestic violence which mostly goes unreported. Think of your family before you even think of doing something as stupid and uncivilized as teasing or abusing a woman. Once again, it all boils down to the values and morals that were inculcated in you as a child and what you learn from the society.
No matter how much we boast of our constitution and the laws, we miserably failed to have stringent laws in protecting the daughters of this country. Laws like The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act(1956), The Indecent representation of Women Act(1986), The Commission of Sati Act (1987) and The Protection Of Women against Domestic Violence Act(2005) have not given fruitful results. The 1956 act hasn’t still eradicated the brothels across the country. In fact, there is a rise in the number of brothels across the country year after year. Women are forced into prostitution. The Sati Act also has not given effective result. There are still huge chunks of population in India, especially in the tribal and rural areas who support the concept of Sati. The Government still needs to create awareness among such sections of society. The Protection Of Women against Domestic Violence Act has not stopped in-laws abusing their daughter-in-law, husband committing martial rape, drunken husbands beating their wives like animals and women forced to undergo female foeticide. The Indecent representation of Women Act needs special mention here. It’s not for the fruitful results but for the in-numerous violations of this law. Just look at our advertisements, posters, and films. Need I say more?
An important point that needs mentioning here is that the numbers of people convicted under these acts are to the minimum compared to the number of cases registered. What we need is not only stringent laws but also effective implementation and time bound justice with high conviction rates.
Miserable failure of police department
One of the most favorite past time of an average Indian is to bash out the police and our Netas. In the violence or abuse or harassment against women, the police department are very much reluctant register a FIR. Also they are not accommodating when a rape-survivor comes to the station to file a complaint. Rather, they further harass her by asking questions like why did you wear western clothing, why did you go alone, who asked you to go with your boy-friend, Did you signal them in a way that caused the men to rape. There are hardly many women police stations where the rape survivors can go and feel comfortable to file a complaint. Sadly, most of the cases go unreported and those who file a FIR had to bear the brunt of the never ending legal process. Even though the justice is delivered after years of effort from rape-survivor’s side, the guilty were to let go off with petty fines and to a maximum of a seven year life sentence. All the while, the rape-survivor’s family had to go through media TRP news, outcasted from their community and face ‘damkis’ from the rapist’s side. The way the police conducts the case and proceedings only adds fuel to this agony.
Socially-ill and unresponsive society
The most important thing that has to be addressed is the immunity of the society to come forward and respond to such incidents. Please note that merely liking a status in FB or signing a petition does not mean you have done a great job in protesting the incidents. However, it always happens the other way round. The rape-survivor’s family bears the brunt of the society. The society curses the family of the survivor and not the family of the rapists. Furthermore, the rapists were given a ‘cult’ status. What more can I say? Even though someone who witnessed a rape or a sexual harassment or an abuse is reluctant to come out and present him/herself as witness, fearing for the long and complex legal process. The good thing that there were some protests about the incidents is a soothing one. But how many of them have changed the course of law, functioning of police and the thinking of the society?
Everyone is of the feeling that this will not affect me or my family. But one day may come where your wife or mother or daughter would be in that position and you would find no help as everybody thinks like you. Hope we change for the good.
Finally, I pray that the protests in Delhi would bring out a significant change in the affairs of our country with respect to the abuse or harassment or violence against women. Hope a day will come when there will be a fear inside every man’s heart in thinking to abuse or rape a woman. Hope our society would open the doors to optimism, equality, maturity and, most importantly, good values and morals.
India…Wake Up to Life!! Introspect!!!