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Crime Against Women is still at large inspite of all the talk of empowerment these days. Here the author explores the fundamental reasons for Violence Against Women in India.
A friend of mine expressed concern over the fact that despite the furore created after the Delhi rape case girls continue to remain unsafe and there seems no change in the mindset of those who wish to project themselves as powerful by indulging in molestation and rape. She was talking about the Women’s Day programme that the Mahila Samity, that she was affiliated to planned to conduct and Safety of Women was a theme that was doing the rounds.
She wanted to know if seminars or debates organised by them would serve the purpose – after all, haven’t we talked enough about it? Her concern was genuine. She had a niece in her early teens and the thought that the girl or for that matter all the little girls in our apartment complex risked being raped anywhere or anytime by anyone was indeed upsetting not only to her but all thinking individuals.
So what do we do about it? As my friend rightly pointed out, talking about it has not helped. But will it help if one did not talk about it? As such, society has remained silent for centuries and it only now that people report cases of rape and molestation even if the offender is a parent or a close relative. We now choose to openly protest against it. I, for one, believe that creating an awareness among our youngsters will help. And they need to be assured that even if they have been at the receiving end, it was not their fault and they need not feel ashamed or guilty. Participation in debates either as a speaker or as part of the audience will encourage our girls to address the issue confidently.
There is a view that there seem to be more rapes taking place after the mass protest against the December 16th incident. May be more cases are being reported and perhaps the stigmatisation and character assassination of the victim has reduced to some extent. It could also mean that men with a sadist mentality wish to show society that they are just unstoppable and will continue to subjugate women in this manner whatever be the level of protest.
In a talk show that I viewed a few days back the guest speaker did not mince his words when he said that girls ought to be trained to defend themselves. Any initiative to curb the menace of rape and molestation ought to include and emphasize the fact that while law makers police, parents, schools and social activists can condemn the act it is our girls who need to defend themselves. Though there was truth in his words I was a little disappointed and wondered if he would say the same thing if it was his daughter or sister who was the victim?
Was it not equally important to change society’s mindset that men were a superior class and were authorised to act as they pleased? Should not mothers be as proud of their daughter’s achievement as that of their sons? Should not a mother stand up for her daughter who is wronged in whatever manner? Will a girl who is trained to accept a subservient role in the family with every male member dominating her, ever become a confidant adult?
There was a furore in the steel city when a teenager reported the fact that she was continuously raped by her maternal uncle’s friend. I was disappointed that a few women activists in our town felt that the girl was not mentally sound and till date I have a lingering doubt that the offender got away not because of lack of evidence but because he belonged to a community that refuses to believe that such incidents are universal and that they are no exception.
I think it the collective responsibility of the family and society to teach men and women to have mutual respect for each other and this should begin from the time a child is born. If girls are regarded as assets and not liabilities, crime against women – not necessarily rape – will automatically come down.
Pic credit: The Say NO UNiTE campaign for ending violence against women
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