The Same Question Once Again- Will Women Ever Be Safe in India?
Rape is such act of crime that can tear these very fragments into bits and pieces and can cripple anyone once and for all. It is a heinous act of crime where a person is physically overpowered and subjected to sexual assault against their will, mainly by the application of force.
Society consists of men and women living in a co-existential socioeconomic construct and also cohabitating, based on an informed consensual choice. When this system is challenged itself, the whole society drifts apart as the basic principles are violated. Rape is one such act of crime that can tear these very fragments into bits and pieces and can cripple anyone once and for all. It is a heinous act of crime where a person is physically overpowered and subjected to sexual assault against their will, mainly by the application of force. Though there is no defined gender for rape, it has been noticed that women have mostly fallen victim to it, especially in a country like ours- India.
The Important Question
This raises a very big and concerning question that why is it so? There can be many reasons that can be attributed to it. When looking at it from the perspective of Indian society, women have always been confined to the limitations of the household while men went out and faced the world and provided for the family. This automatically empowered them to be more influential and stronger gender among the two and a sense of ownership prevailed. However, this concept has died down over a period of time but the mentality prevails. Men still feel that they are superior to women despite being proven otherwise in all aspects of life. They think it is their birthright to demand anything from a woman and get it without question. When denied, the fragile male ego gets hurt and they resort to violence. It is this act of violence itself that leads to rape most of the time.
It Could Have Been Stopped...
It could have been controlled if there was a potent education system at home which taught young boys at a tender age the importance of respecting girls and giving them the freedom that they deserve. Instead, girls are educated about the dangers that boys can pose to them if they do not conduct themselves with dignity. Restrictions are levied upon them, with respect to clothes, timings, company etcetera in the context of not instigating men to go down the shameful path. Any educated humans looking at this rape culture in India is bound to be disgusted by it. This does not extrapolate into the dawn of realization though as new cases of rapes come forward every day, committed in the most gruesome manner.
What’s Wrong With The Society??
The entire world, especially India, woke up with the shocking news on 16 December 2012, when the gruesome case of the rape of 23 years old Physiotherapy student named Jyoti Singh came to light. She was forcefully abducted by a group of 7 men along with her friend and gang-raped on a moving bus in New Delhi. The ordeal didn't stop at that. She and her friend were brutally beaten up and then thrown out of the moving bus. Jyoti finally succumbed to her injuries a few days later in the hospital and lost her life. It didn't take time to change the name of the victim from Jyoti to Nirbhaya, meaning fearless and it united the whole nation in a combined protest. Candlelight vigils and peaceful rallies were conducted throughout the country demanding justice for Nirbhaya.
Did It Bring Any Good To The Society??
However, what was the outcome of the hue and cry that was raised? The accused got life-imprisonment and can still challenge the decision on the basis of a mercy plea. Moreover, one of the accused is a juvenile who was taken to a juvenile court for trial with a relatively lesser punishment. All the hue and cry raised didn't really have a huge impact on the frequency of the crime though. Debates about the reason for rape were brought forward with many even going to the extent of blaming the victim for being out on the streets with a guy late night. Even the Kathua rape case incident on January 2018 was an eye-opener as a merely 8-year girl child, Asifa Banu was raped and murdered. It was proven that humanity is at an all-time low and the newer incidents just add to the statement.
The recent case of Dr. Priyanka Reddy is another such incident that can make you lose faith in humanity even further. This 26-year-old veterinary doctor parked her two-wheeler on the side of a highway and went to work. Four truck drivers who were consuming alcohol nearby saw her going and hatched a plan to rape her. They punctured her back tire and waited for her to come back. After finishing her work at around 9 pm when she came back to the parking she noticed the problem. Then the accused offered to help her by taking her bike to a mechanic and in the process forced her into a vehicle and abducted her. Then each of them took turns to gang-rape her and then decided to kill her. She was suffocated to death. The most horrific part of the incident, if this was not enough, was when they decided to burn the body to remove any evidence.
Her charred body was later found under the bridge near a highway, completely burnt. Though this sounds like being straight out of a horror story, every gruesome fact is absolutely true. Many other related incidents were brought to light which exposes the flaws in the functioning of the Indian Judiciary system even further. When the parents and relatives of Priyanka went to lodge a complaint of the missing girl in the local police station, they did not register the FIR and said that maybe she has eloped with someone. A lot of time was lost in arguments and in transit.
What Could Have Been Different??
If things were done promptly, as and when the complaint was lodged at around 11 pm, maybe Priyanka would still be alive. This is a pressing issue that has been cropping up its ugly head again and again. Police officers are reluctant to register potential rape cases citing a number of unrelated reasons. The four culprits were nabbed from their homes and have been put under judicial custody.
This case has again brought the whole nation together as more details were revealed about the appalling incident. Women activists have been demanding that nothing less than a death sentence will suffice as punishment for the accused. Rallies and candlelight marches all over the country have started again. Many people even took to social media to express their rage as hashtags started trending. It also brought to light the incompetence of the Central Government in dealing with rape. Although most of the ministers in prominent positions have condemned the whole incident and demanded that appropriate actions be taken, it has highlighted what has been lacking in this respect evidently.
The laws are not strict enough for such a disturbing crime and it does not strike fear into the hearts of the miscreants plotting anything similar. Stricter protocols need to be framed and necessary steps for maintaining vigilance should be put in place. People, especially women, should be made aware of the helpline number that they can use to contact the police immediately in case they suspect something. The crime department needs to be on their toes all the time and act immediately. No advocate has stood up to fight for the accused in a court of law and they may end up without any defendants eventually. What is even more heart-wrenching is the fact that five other similar incidents of abduction and brutal rape were reported in different parts of the country but did not receive the attention that was it's due. This brings forward the question that how many such cases actually go unreported and unsolved and the number can become quite uneasy.
Shamefully, We Continue To Live Our Lives...
Rape does not have any pattern. It is not dependent on age, clothing, time, the way one conducts oneself. There is enough evidence to debunk these myths. Females of all ages, wearing conservative clothes, at 5oclock in the evening have also been reported for rape. It is the mentality of the people that need to be questioned. Proper education needs to be administered. Boys and men should be told about the importance of women in society. There is no denying the fact that the situation looks very grim.
If appropriate actions are not taken at the right time and people are not fearful of the law, things are going to spiral for the worst soon. Step up and report anything amiss as soon as possible to the concerned authority. The case of Dr. Priyanka Reddy should be the eye-opener for everyone and should not just be restricted to these protests and social media rants. Make your effort to make India a safe place.