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One more Nirbhaya Day comes along on 16th December, 6 years since Jyoti Singh a.k.a Nirbhaya was brutally gangraped. Has anything changed for the women of India?
Amidst all the crimes and atrocities humanity had witnessed, one could not disagree on including the night of December 16, 2012, in the prime list of this sinful history. A young, aspiring physiotherapist traveling with her friend was brutally assaulted in a moving bus, in the capital city of our country, by a group of men who not only gang-raped her, but inserted a rusted iron rod inside her private parts to the extent that her intestines were pulled out.
“A knife cut is enough for a tear to escape, they pulled her intestines out with an iron rod.”
The incident rocked the entire nation. The media dedicated significant airtime, a number of candle walks by the citizens and in a rare instance, law machinery functioned.
The term ‘Nirbhaya’ meaning fearless was coined for the name of the victim. One of the accused hanged himself in prison, another juvenile was given imprisonment in a reform facility, and the remaining four culprits were sentenced by hanging to death. As per the general understanding, it could be concluded that Nirbhaya was served justice. Her soul could rest in peace. Following the judgment, it wasn’t wrong to expect that a certain level of fear might have been induced in the minds of offenders.
“Was the justice served? Did the havoc of lust subside? Did the soul of Nirbhaya rest in peace?”
On the contrary, the instances of rapes, acid attacks, and assaults exploded in various cities. The gang rape of a mother and daughter on the National Highway, the Uber rape case, Kathua rape case, assaults on newborns; the count of atrocities got lost in the flood of such cases.
The safety of women became a tool for politicians and was played well to put the blame on each other, with attitudes of ‘she deserved it’..
“We kept on blaming, judiciary, police, doctors and even religion. And yet the souls of Nirbhayas’ wept along, when every time a new sister joined them.”
Where have we gone wrong? Why did a landmark judgment and overall awareness fail to stop the horrors spread by the predators? Rape is a global epidemic but of all the nations, supposedly, we were ‘expected’ to guide rest of the world with the light of wisdom. A country of Goddess Lakshmi, Parvati, Saraswati, a land which is itself called Bharat ‘Mata’, a birthplace of four major religions, with sacred rivers flowing through our land identified with feminine identity, where the lap of ‘Maa’ is considered as equivalent to God; yet we have utterly failed to respect and protect her form.
“She has to give her body again for the preparation of samples even in the condition where she can die. We call that the law?” – ENDURER A Rape Story
It is a shame, despicable. If we want a future, we need to clean it up. It takes years to rebuild a system but we can always start at an individual level. No matter how many fast-track courts are set up or laws are enforced, unless we learn to unconditionally support the victims and expel the perpetrators from the society, nothing is going to improve. The age-old taboos which have plagued our society irrespective of class and demography should be given away. The only philosophy which should prevail is that no one has the reason to disrespect the physical limits of a being without their consent.
“If the size of the skirt is your reason for Rape, try leaving your beloved in full clothes with a Rapist.”
On this Nirbhaya Day, I take a pledge to be part of the revolution. I would always support and be there for the survivors of sexual assault. Would you join hands with me?
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: Flickr
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