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#MeToo has been a great social movement for awareness. Now the ball is in the government’s court to take concrete action against women’s harassment.
Ever since the very unfortunate Nirbhaya incident in Delhi, there has been an outbreak of #MeToo’s, #Indiasdaughter’s, #Womenempowerment’s doing rounds in the social media.
Feminists, activists, liberals have been encouraging women/society/parents to speak out when their baby, child, or women are abused.
So yes, many heard. Many spoke out. Many fought. Many filed a case. Many wrote blogs. Many debated on TV channels. Many discussed. Many got angry. We are not ashamed any more to report abuses! Our constant worry of ‘izzat’, ‘honor’ and upholding the great culture by women acting ‘shudh’ and ‘pure’ have now taken a back-seat.
Women still require accompaniment of a male member of the family if they choose to step out after dark in many Indian small-towns. Ladies who dare to share their thoughts on equal-rights or emancipation are still being harassed openly in the social media by the so-called custodians of the patriarchal culture. A woman is still raped every twenty minutes somewhere in India (Yes, this is the reported case..mind you). Child-rape has increased by 336% in the last 10 years. Are these numbers not good enough for further actions? Or is there a specific target for these numbers, that the whole country is waiting upon?
As I write this, another victim of rape, a defenseless eight-month-old baby is fighting for her life after undergoing a three-hour operation and the hospital hallways are deafened by her shrieks and cries.
Hullooo… Is any one taking notice or even listening??
There is a huge cry for help.
Is the Law Enforcement, the Legal System of the country or the respected Prime Minister giving any updates to the citizens ?
An amount of Rs 1000 crores have been allocated to the ‘Nirbhaya Fund’ in the 2013-2014 budget. An equal amount gets allocated to the fund every year even after the Modi government has taken over. How exactly has this fund been used in the prevention of further abuses? Can the government show us the report on the progress?
Among those arrested for these inhuman crimes, 99% of the time the sexual abuse has happened under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Other than the states of Bihar, Gujarat, Nagaland, and the union territory of Lakshadweep, and a partial ban in the state of Manipur, all other states permit alcohol. Imposing restriction on the easy access and usage of alcohol in public places or a total ban of the alcohol would help prevent most of these barbaric cases. There needs to be an effective crack down of the drug mafia as well. Can the government invest heavily on this initiative? (Nirbhaya fund still remains unspent.)
Use the fund to eradicate such routine and cheap practices that every single woman faces on a day to day basis. Hooligans find the public transport or the streets a perfect venue to practice their groping, stares and foul language at women. The policing should be made more effective and widespread in every alley instilling deep fear in the perpetrators.
Impose harsh punishments on the convict within six months of the crime. Until 2013, the highest degree of punishment for rape was a maximum imprisonment of seven years if the convict was proven guilty. The “if” here is a BIG IF. Now the law has been changed to life imprisonment of minimum 20 years or even death penalty in extreme cases. That is a step in the right direction and we appreciate the government and the legal system for this big move. But even in a case as brutal as Nirbhaya, it took the judiciary almost two and a half years to give the verdict. Can the process be made faster?
The media goes on and on reporting the crime making it as sensational as possible. They interview the victim, the victim’s family, the victim’s neighbors. A sad background score is added to present the remorse. Panels of discussion are arranged on all TV channels where distinguished politicians, leaders, educationists, feminists discuss in length about the present state of affairs. But when it comes to making the mass believe that justice would be finally served, or this is a country that takes rape as a serious crime and convicts are arrested and punished ruthlessly, the media does not take the same interest. Every single case where a convict is punished should reach the length and breadth of the county with the same enthusiasm and devotion as it takes to report the crime. Can the media report all the convicted cases with the same frenzy and vigor as the crime?
The importance of education cannot be emphasized enough. Elementary school education provides the base for a person’s thought process and beliefs. Explain to little kids about gender equality, respect, rights, self-respect and dignity. Teach them to speak up when they think something is not happening right. Widen their horizons and talk about the great world leaders both women and men. Let our boys and girls learn to live together in a society that harness mutual respect and love for each other.
It’s easy to say ‘This is India. This is all we can expect”. Our negative and fizzling attitude will only encourage the evildoers who is waiting for a chance to pounce on another innocent and hapless being.
India has come a long way in the last seventy odd years after the Britishers looted us and left us in ruins. We have stayed together in unison albeit the fact that we are of different faith, culture, creed and language. India is now one of the leading democracies of the world. We have made it through the hard times staying together hand-in-hand.
Now this is another epidemic that is plaguing India and we will tackle it too efficiently. But now is the time to act and lets commit to it together with utmost sincerity and earnestness. Let justice prevail!
Published here earlier.
Image source: shutterstock
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views. Individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times. If you have a complementary or differing point of view, you can request to be a Women's Web contributor too!
Manju Nambiar hails from the southern state of Kerala, India. A computer engineer by profession,
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