In a recent, shocking incident in Kerala, when returning from work, a leading Malayalam actress was abducted and molested by a group of people in her moving car for an hour.
If a celebrity has to face such a thing, and that too on a national highway that is always crowded, what is the plight of ordinary women in general? It is for this reason that I applaud how this actress has spoken up frankly; she has boldly registered a case where others might not even lodge a grievance due to the fear of being defamed. In most cases police also do not give a case its due importance – this is what makes the culprits fearless.
In some cases, women are criticized for wearing certain type of dresses or for the particular time of incident. What about this case where the actress had to face harassment in her own car due to the plotting of culprits with a criminal background, in a crowded city? This means that whether you are in a metro city or remote village, the onus ultimately falls on women to remain alert and not trust anyone!
This raises much concern for women’s security in a literate and erudite state where we boast of egalitarianism in all domains. This shows that women are not safe anywhere, even amongst the educated public. The offenders behind the molestation will be set free and this whole issue will be forgotten after a few days, and no one will recall this except the victim. Even if they face punishment, the culprits will be set free without much fuss and they will continue with such acts again. Is it surprising then that women hesitate to even lodge a complaint, given the hassle they face?
It is high time now that we have rigorous rules and laws against this evil so that we do not have to face such harrassment by these criminals with loose morals. Today people are not scared to mistreat or abuse women since they know they will be set free eventually. Often, the victim never gets justice even though it is well-discussed in media or even though it has inflamed public opinion. We will never know the cases that have not been reported – it is alarming to think of how many more cases exist where human rights laws are been sullied.
Even though there are pink police and emergency helplines here in Kerala where this particular incident took place, it is not as efficient as it should be and doesn’t work many times. These services are often not there after 8 pm. Emergency numbers should be more active and should be available at any time to combat this issue and this would also help in catching the culprits.
This patriarchal mindset of our society needs to be changed; from the beginning, in our own homes, people need to be taught to treat all equally. Ultimately, no rules can change a person’s attitude unless the real lessons are taught from home itself.
Top image via UN Women, used under a Creative Commons license