The recent developments in Delhi were appalling; and unfortunately, they are the dire reflection of our society. I am the part of the city-Delhi where we actively encourage and assist inhumane violation of our women. To serve the purpose, our supreme police force works around the clock to actively remove any encumbrance to the rape of a woman. Here, we welcome you to satiate your most carnal desires and we find them justified! After all we are the rape capital of the world and we thoroughly believe in “if it is consensual, it ain’t fun.” Here, women get raped, bystanders look on and the help-lines don’t work!
The article 21 of the constitution gives us-the women, the right to bodily integrity- right to life and liberty to men and women both alike. But does that extirpate such crimes like molestation, does that promise a safe haven for us. I feel scared to walk on the roads now, after it is dark. Men can get drunk, and go out at night alone, wear what they want, and get in a car with any number of people of the same or opposite gender without the inherent risk of being assaulted, but women have to take precautions not to do the exact same things, then women are not free, and certainly not equal. Everyday women have to think how to avoid such tragedies; we may rise to the highest positions in business and academia, but we cannot walk in a skirt late in the evening, and rely on our police forces. Yes, indeed we are talking of gender equality.
Blame the victim- defence of the defenceless! We are asked to take precautions, not from bombs and bullets, but men! Ours is a civilised society, a free democratic society, where half of the population is expected to behave and dress up according to the other half. Am I really free if I am asked to restrict myself to prevent from being attacked by other members of the same society? This is outrageous.
And the response this incident has evoked is despicable. My Facebook wall was swarmed with posts that condemn the victims, for being out late at night, for wearing provocative clothes, for wearing heavy make-up, for having male friends. There are people out there who believe that a woman would deliberately provoke a sexual assault! As if being a rape victim was so much fun. Rape is always unwanted, always uninvited! Rape is the most heinous crime. A woman that gets raped remains brutally scarred for her entire life. Frankly, I don’t understand why we debate that what-was-she-wearing?, what-time?, must-have-gotten-him-aroused. Rape is hardly about sex and it’s almost always about exerting power. Girls as young as 2 years old get raped, young boys get raped. What’s the arousal thing involved here? Civilised men should take a stand against it instead of justifying and blaming the victim.
And rhetoric in the parliament will not solve the problem, but stringent laws and prosecution will. Because the ones who commit the crime are very well aware of the loop-holes in our judicial system, which they conveniently exploit and then get away with horrendous crimes like rape.
In fact, in most of the rape cases that go to trial, only a handful is such in which the rapists are convicted. In Mohd. Habib v/s State, the Delhi High Court allowed a rapist to go scot-free merely because there were no marks of injury on his penis- which the High Court presumed was a indication of no resistance. The most important facts such as the age of the victim (being seven years) and that she had suffered a ruptured hymen and the bite marks on her body were not considered by the High Court. Even the eye- witnesses, who witnessed this ghastly act, could not sway the High Court’s judgment. Another classic example of the judicial pronouncements in rape cases is the case of Bhanwari Devi, wherein a judge remarked that the victim could not have been raped since she was a dalit while the accused hailed from an upper caste- who would not stoop to sexual relations with a dalit.
The constitution did witness amendments in the rape laws in 1983 but there is a need to commute life imprisonment to capital punishment in rape cases. The idea is simple, remove the weed and let the society grow undeterred. Castration (removal of male sex organ) was suggested by Delhi Judge Ms Kamini Lau and we would love to have a law that allows us to bobbitize or stone them to death, but our legal system will not. Capital punishment is possible, like in case of Dhanonjay Chatterjee and if not, then the least they could do is sentencing them to solitary confinement, for life, without bail. Every single day in darkness and isolation, till death.
But now they are resorting to stupid band-aid tactics…Banning tinted glasses as if all rapes happened in buses! The big tank of crime is leaking from all corners, but our government and law will prefer to put a little bit of plaster to temporarily deal with one little crack. And that is because they have been so accustomed to doing nothing that now when the people are angry and demanding action, they resort to such stupid solutions! But I am glad the people are angry, I am glad we are voicing our concerns in as loud a manner that our leaders cannot ignore.
Skipping the blame-game, let us think beyond punishments. What can we actually do? As a parent, I would regularly talk and watch over my children, not making topics like sex, rape a taboo but talking openly about it. As a teacher, I will constantly show the right path to my children. As a friend, I will be a good moral support; I would never let my friend indulge in anything that is faintly equivalent to harassing. As police, I will give a sense of security to the citizens. As a politician, I would work to uplift the nation. And as a society, I will contribute to create a healthy environment, reject those who cannot respect all sections.
I will be the change that I want to see.
Guest writer – Megha Baid, LSR
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