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In a country that sent a rover to Mars, we still hear of cases of sexual assault against women on a daily basis. Isn’t it time we treated women like humans and not objects?
A country famous for worshipping goddesses and treating girls like deities, is also famous for being the most dangerous country for women. Rape is the fastest growing and the fourth most common crime against women in India.
According to surveys, one woman is raped every 13 minutes in the world’s largest democracy, but convictions are few and far between. Even after the 2012 Delhi gang rape- the one that shook the entire world- the situation has not really improved.
India’s National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) annual report states 38947 cases of rape were reported across India in 2016. At the same time, there are thousands of unreported rape cases. And in some cases, even when a victim reports the crime, they are often threatened and forced to stay silent.
Gang rape is another common type of sexual violence in India. The victim is raped by multiple assailants. And fearing retaliation from the criminals, they try to avoid reporting the crimes. Add to this the societal stigmatisation of being a victim- it just makes matters worse!
Even the government shelters are not safe for girls. We often read news of girls as young as seven being drugged and raped over a long period of time by the people running these shelters.
More often than not, these are the people who have some major political connections. This is because of the lack of transparency in how the shelters are managed. That leads to the absence of monitoring and these criminals simply take advantage of it.
It is time for the government to take strict action. These shelters need to be encouraged about being more transparent in how they run the shelters. They need to put systems in place to protect the girls from the abuse that they have borne for years.
Violence against women remains one of the most serious issues in our country. It has reached a point where even a new born girl child is not safe from rape. Even though the country’s economic, political and social conditions are improving, the circumstances are only worsening for women.
Women might be handling all their responsibilities, from family to career, they still don’t feel safe going out at night or in some cases, inside their own homes. It seems like the country is moving forward and getting better in every aspect except the safety of its women.
India as a country is obsessed with growth and Indian men with status and power. However, the women who give birth to these men live in fear of discrimination and sexual violence. The literacy rate is growing steadily but the mindset of many Indian men remains the same. They still have no respect for the women around them.
Men consider women to be a mere object of pleasure. Something they can rape brutally without, age is no bar. They have no fear of the law- the constitution gives them freedom. These men are so sure that they commit these crimes without giving it a second thought. They know, that either way, they will not be caught. And even if they do get caught, they will not be punished. The courts, after all, are busy with the lakhs of pending cases.
There are women who get raped, file cases, wait for justice all their lives and die with the dream of getting it. Though the laws are getting stricter, they are doing little for women in India.
In any society, rape has an enduring effect on the lives of the victim. However, in India the effects are magnified for both the victim and their families. And the most bizarre thing about the society is that it is the victim who is blamed for provoking the sexual violence. The victim’s clothes being the most targeted.
Courts, religious groups and powerful authorities will always take the assailant’s side – according to them, male sexuality is a show of masculinity – where power and aggression are championed.
Thus, the victim is always at fault as the victim gives the assailant the opportunity of raping her by giving him subtle hints. Whether it is wearing revealing ‘western’ clothes or wandering the streets late at night or drinking alcohol or even talking to them in a friendly manner- it is always the victim’s fault.
Another aspect to consider is that the age of the rapists is going down. Boys as young as 16 consider it normal to rape their own sisters, cousins or any girl around them. In numerous reported cases, the assailants were related or known to the victims.
It is this scenario that makes mothers scared to even think of having a girl child. The mothers are scared of the animals staying inside their own homes- the ones who don’t even spare babies. To me, it feels like the safest person for a girl is only her mother’s womb. Because as soon as they are born, they are prey to the predators around them.
It has become so difficult to recognise the monsters around us that no one can be trusted, not even our own family members. A baby who knows nothing about this world and has just begun to recognise her is raped. She is considered an object to satisfy sexual desires. A normal stable person will fail to understand how a small baby can arouse such feelings in anyone.
Looking at the current scenario, we really need to ask ourselves a question about the assailants and the kind of society they were bred in! Now is the time to really think about the society we live in.
We need to ask ourselves why women are considered as mere objects to satisfy men’s sexual desires. Is the older generation to be blamed for their misogynistic thoughts? For these were the men who taught men to treat their wives, daughters, sisters and mothers like slaves and not humans.
Or do we blame the entertainment industry for objectifying women in item songs? Don’t these songs have disgusting lyrics? Or should we blame the laws? For rapists have no fear of punishment!
Will there ever come a time when girls will be able to roam the streets without a sense of danger even at midnight? Or will we see a time when an expecting mother will not be stressed about carrying a girl child? Will mothers ever not be scared of their daughters’ future and even present?
Can we look forward to a day when mothers will not have to be suspicious of people around them? Or to a day when they don’t worry about their daughters’ safety when they leave their homes?
It is the long past time that we build a society where we stop blaming the female gender for the rapes. In fact, it is time, we start teaching our sons and brothers the right way to treat women.
Not just women, but men also have to fight for women. Only then will a day come when girls will be able to step out of their houses without fear.
Picture credits: Pexels
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