Can I walk on my own? Will I be safe today? Do I actually have the right to live freely? These are just some questions I ask myself every day.
There has been an unprecedented number heinous acts committed against women lately, whether it be rape or domestic violence. Justice is still pending for countless women in the country and the nation has failed to deliver what it promised since Independence - equality and justice for all.
Development is not mere statistics based on only economic growth. What position does India have, when the cries of the innocent are stifled and the meek are silenced? On one hand we boast of a nation and its unity in diversity, and on the other hand half of the country, the women, has no voice of their own. They are merely shunted to the periphery for the society. That of a supporting cast in a man`s world.
Sometimes I feel, nothing can stir the consciousness of people. We live in a materialistic era where money presides over social issues, our own humanity. We all suffer from the ostrich syndrome. We think nothing is wrong till we start suffering. We fail to push forward the need for a change, a revolution.
Dec 16, 2012, witnessed the most brutal act that created ripples of protest all over the world. A 23 year-old student was brutally gang-raped and assaulted, in a bus by six men. She, along with her injured male friend, was left to die on the road, in the cold night of Delhi, completely devoid of clothes. The `heinous` act was strongly condemned In India. The victim breathed her last after putting up a brave fight. And we were promised faster justice, prevention of more such cases... but more than that women thought that the society would be willing to understand the pain of being teased, hurt and molested in a power game.
We thought that the leaders and police would have more empathy for the sufferings of the `weaker` sex. We thought that after speedy justice ensured and fast track courts in place, maybe now the rape-cases would lessen. Maybe at least, if not for the sake of humanity, the flesh-eaters would at least stop in fear of being punished by our otherwise moral society, which stops us from wearing provocative clothes and carrying mobiles!
Just a year-and-half after the barbaric act of rape, that shook the entire world, India has again managed to grab headlines after two minor girls were raped, assaulted and were found hanging from a tree, in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh.
It is an endless cycle. We hear of the barbarism, we protest, we blame everyone... we quieten down and go back to our own lives... and the next day another rape instance comes to light - a girl gets raped, men force acid down her throat or she is strangulated. We hear of a woman beheaded after getting raped in Manipur... in front of her five children! The list is endless.
But after all the chaos and protest, the fight to ensure a dispensation of speedy justice and tough punishment for the criminals dies down. People go back to normalcy after a candle light vigil, a few posts on Facebook and trending hashtags on Twitter. We merely have become spectators, in the vicious circle of the ever increasing crime rates against women. It does not matter whether we live in a village, town or a city; the safety of women in our country is abysmal across the nation.
Our elite leaders and political parties just start the blame game. No one is willing to take any action. They wait for the media outrage to die down and go back to making money and scams. How can blaming each other bring any relief to the victims of rape, dowry-deaths and acid attacks? Are women just a scapegoat for pulling another party down?
To add to the insult, everyone starts scrutinizing the victim - the cause, effect, reason for provocation? Whether she had a boyfriend? Was she returning from a party? Did she wear the right clothes? Is she educated? She must have enjoyed it, otherwise her body would have shut down.
Instead of taking a firm stand against these social evils, people start pointing fingers at feminists, the women`s rights, and how they are over reacting. How women want to be raped simply by existing. How they deserve it.
The problem is that because we take everything so casually and let culprits get away with their crime, it has made those slimy rapists to assume that nothing would happen. They get bolder with every act that goes unpunished. Until the courts start doling out punishments faster, the loopholes in the law are filled and the criminals are made to pay heavily, no amount of moral lecture would prove effective. It is a point that many have put before, but with the system not in place it may turn out to have more dire consequences than the society might be ready for. And maybe the process of social break down has already started.
It`s pointless to call our society a free and liberal society where a major section of our society is treated as dirt and all their rights are impinged on.
Rise above the shallow narrowness of your soul! Let the girls breathe, and grow.
Men can`t exist by themselves.