It’s been two years since the horrific “Delhi bus gang rape case” which sent shivers down our spines. The news of that fatal sexual assault triggered a strong reaction from the public who took to social media, protests and rallies to pressurize the government into punishing the rapists immediately. The case received an unprecedented amount of media coverage and attention. India had witnessed a revolution then; a revolution without a solution.
In spite of all this, one can see that the matters of sexual violence, objectification and harassment being transformed into a ‘culture’ of sorts in India.
What has the country witnessed in these two years?
Two years on, what has India witnessed? There has been an increase of rape cases, 10% of which were reported. The country has witnessed some degrading item numbers in our blockbuster hit movies, which according to the heroines themselves objectify women. Baba Rampal was found having time of his life with women in his holy ‘ashram’. Times of India accused Deepika Padukone for ‘asking for it’ and Gauhar Khan was recently slapped for wearing short and skinny clothes.
Women have found men unzipped in Delhi Metro, who have the brazen courage to touch them in public. Victims have been victimized further after being held responsible for the rapes and rapists have been moving around the city, unfazed.
India has also come across various outlandish causes of rapes, which range from having non vegetarian food and using phones as suggested by some political genius to eating chowmein as pointed out by a Haryana Khap Panchayat leader. Mannequins also have been respectfully blamed for rapes apart from bizarre reasons like school uniforms and astrology.
We witnessed some changed in the law with amendments in Criminal Law Act and reduction of age for a person to be called juvenile from 18 to 16. Many more laws were formed in the country, implementation of which still holds a question mark.
The sickness has no end but there are a few positives too. The Nirbhaya case encouraged women to report more and as a result, there was a significant rise in cases reported for rape. Not recording someone’s case is also subjected to lawful punishment and therefore the police has started recording more. There has been a major transformation in activities of the media, which keeps a better track of cases of sexual violence against women.
The Uber taxi rape case
After almost two years, Delhi, now better known as the rape-capital, is honoured with another ordeal where a taxi driver employed by Uber raped a female passenger. Uber, a service that only allows government-approved, commercially-licensed drivers is now banned in Delhi, because it did not perform independent driver verification.
Yes, Uber should be penalized because it committed the mistake of relying on our government and its driver approval system. This is a country where anyone can obtain a license with jugaad, contacts and money.
Rapes can happen in auto rickshaws as well, right? Let us wait till one happens and then autos will also be banned. It’s not as if women don’t already face harassment in public means of transport like buses and the Metro.
Gender Fight – Man v/s Woman
A section of women are portraying the society as male dominant society by urging just the men to fight. Why was the recent open letter by Shenaz addressed just to the influential men? Are the women of this country not capable enough to fight for their causes? Why just men?
This also reminds me that our society has very well understood the art of ‘generalizing’. It is not ‘men’ who rape but it’s the rapists. It has been easily summarized that all men are culprits and should be dealt with law and order. The fight should not be with the ‘gender’.
To those who are reading this, how many are aware that men are also raped? Yes, they are. There have been so many cases, which are not brought to light of media. Is this how we choose to live?
Is it also about the revenge? In the recent case of Rothak Sisters, further evidence casts suspicion on who the actual perpetrator was. The country also has women who misuse the powers given by the government. Since every complaint by a woman is considered valid, sometimes this leads to abuse of these laws for the sake of revenge for personal matters. Though the number of such cases is very low, it cannot be ignored.
What have we learnt and what should we learn?
The recent trends show that our lessons include writing an ‘open letter’ and then receiving 20 responses to the same. With Shenaz Treasurywala writing an open letter to Narendra Modi, Khans, Amitabh Bachhan and Ambani and Sachin Tendulkar, nobody even knows if these ‘influential’ people read them. One is busy promoting DDLJ and the other is shouting at Karishma Tanna in Big Boss. Organizing rallies and candle light marches is often followed more to gain fame than to fight the cause.
We have learnt the art of blaming just our law and government. I feel that these matters are much beyond the matters of just law and order. We need to understand that policemen can’t be deployed in each and every street across India to protect women.
We are devoid of the best solutions when we sit to jot them down. India needs to have specialised cells and specialized officers that handle and investigate such crimes. There has to be timely intervention in cases of rape. We also need to look the reasons that fuel such crimes. Yes, as the world demands there should be a death penalty for the offenders but there should be cells that study the offender and the hidden reasons for the crime to prevent crime in the future. We need to understand that is rape just about sex? There also has to be proper coordination between government agencies to maintain proper records of the past criminals to ensure verification of criminals.