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How many more Nirbhayas will we need before we realize that it’s time that we teach our men and boys to act respectfully, instead of teaching our daughters to be docile?
Trigger warning: Discussion of rape and other gender based violence, and may be triggering for a survivor.
When the whole country is uniting against the evil-doers of the Hathras rape case, it can’t be helped but noticed that the state of Uttar Pradesh has managed to come up with four reported rapes in four days.
The incidents took place in Hathras, Balrampur, Bulandshahr and Azamgarh districts of the state with the victims ranging from a merely 8 year old child to a 22 year old adult.
The Hathras Case
The victim was a 19 year old allegedly gangraped, tortured and strangulated by her four rapists. She was later found by her mother in a very distraught state – ripped clothes, bleeding from her private parts, a broken spine and her tongue cut off.
The Balrampur Case
The victim was a 22 year old woman allegedly raped by two men. Working in a private firm, the female returned home with an intravascular cannula aka vigo and a burning pain in her stomach, after which she was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital but died on the way.
Her parents allege that their daughter was gangraped by two men (Shahid and Sahil) who under the farce of taking her to a hospital, raped her, and when her condition worsened, they sent her back home, instead of seeking a doctor.
The Bulandshahr Case
On 30th September, 2020, a 14 year old got allegedly raped by her neighbor at night at a village in Kakore area.
The Azamgarh Case
The survivor is an 8 year old who was allegedly raped by her neighbor. The minor used to visit this neighbor to play with him, so one day, when he showed up on his mother’s doorstep demanding a set of clothes for her daughter and claiming that she was taking bath at his, she didn’t find it appalling. It was only when the child appeared in blood soaked clothes that the mother took her to a hospital and filed a complain against the neighbor.
All the four abovementioned cases are spine chilling and heart wrenching. They leave us wondering about the kind of laws and security that we offer to our women.
From an 8 month old child to an 80 plus year old grandma, nobody is safe. Every time we walk alone on a road, we’re at a risk of being raped. Every time we stay in office after dusk, we’re at a risk of being raped. If we play with dolls, we’re at a risk of being raped; if we knit sweaters, we’re still at the risk of being raped. We’re at a risk of being raped whether we wear sarees or skirts, party out loud or stay at home.
The only question that lurks around is, “am I next?”
For a country who’s sole rituals have always been about telling a girl who she should and how she should be it, we somehow forgot to teach our boys the same.
Today we have an uproar, and might be all the culprits from the above cases get jailed or hanged, but can we really call it ‘justice served’? Can we ever make up for all the trauma, torture and loss of life that these victims and their families suffered? The answer is, no, we can’t.
So, I don’t know how many more Nirbhayas we need, before we realize that it’s time that we teach our men and boys to act respectfully, instead of teaching our daughters to be docile.
Image source: a still from the film Stree
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Rishika is an undergraduate student of English literature and Psychology at the University of Allahabad.
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