It’s been two years to the dreadful Nirbhaya rape case, the scary rape case that led the nation step out and fight for all the safekeeping and rights of women in this society. But where do we stand? Instead of all the efforts that were pitched in, are we safe yet!
A little glance on how far this year has been!
92 women raped in India every day, 92 women raped in India every day.
“A 23-year-old Dalit woman, mother of two, was dragged out of her farmhouse while she was alone with her children and gang raped by five people in Gunga village on the outskirts of the state capital”
“A 40-year-old was allegedly gang raped in Basirhat where by-poll was conducted on Saturday. “
“A 45-year-old plumber, attached to a Kandivali-based hospital, was arrested by the Aarey Colony police on Friday on charges of raping his step-daughter.”
“A cab driver accused of raping a 25-year-old working woman in Delhi on Friday night.”
“32-year-old woman who works as a attendant at the Hooghly district Hospital was allegedly gang-raped by four men when she was on way to the hospital for work.”
“A four-year-old girl was kidnapped from her Nalasopara building and raped in a secluded place in Virar by an unidentified man.”
“A 14-year-old girl was raped by a teenaged boy, her neighbor, two years elder to her, in Shahpura Chavani area”
And a lot more!!
Having lived in Delhi for almost 20 years of my life (having used public transport regularly, having walked alone on busy roads as well as secluded lanes at peak hours and otherwise), I have come to the conclusion that my family and I are as much to blame for the lack of safety and ridiculous fears that our gender experiences as the next ruffian eyeing me at every corner. Why? Because the minute someone pounces, pinches, or comments on me, I, like every other woman, have two choices: one, to retaliate and make it clear that it is unacceptable, and two, cower down, look for the shortest route home, and make a mental note to avoid that particular road, shop, locality, or corner whenever possible.
Very, very unfortunately, what all girls are taught to do is the latter. And I used to do that myself, until I realized how utterly wrong this choice is. I never discouraged an indecent man from repeating his actions; I only emboldened him by reaffirming his idea of power over me. And I single-handedly made it so much worse for all the girls and women who were about to cross that place after I did by not discouraging the man to try it again. As Gandhi had once said, “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” All the insignificant acts add up to become a trend and then the general norm.
Dhavalikar said women should not wear bikinis on Goa’s beaches “for their own safety”, and “girls in short skirts visiting pubs” is against local culture.
Shankaracharya of Puri Swami Nischalananda Saraswati declared western influence responsible for destroying the values and principles of the country. “There is need to change this. Before Independence we were able to maintain our culture and values but in the last 65 years we have lost a great part of it. Such horrific incidents don’t happen all of a sudden. They happen when the thin line of culture and values are crossed in the name of civilization and development.” (Times of India)
Manohar Lal Sharma, a lawyer who represents three of the accused in Nirbhaya case, speaking to Bloomberg in an interview: Sharma said the male companion of the murdered 23-year-old was “wholly responsible” for the incident as the unmarried couple should not have been on the streets at night. “Until today I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady,” Sharma said in an interview at a cafe outside the Supreme Court.
Asaram Bapu, self-proclaimed “godman”: “She should have taken God’s name and could have held the hand of one of the men and said ‘I consider you as my brother’, and should have said to the other two ‘Brother I am helpless, you are my brother, my religious brother.’”
Jitendar Chattar (leader of a Khap Panchayat): “To my understanding, consumption of fast food contributes to such incidents. Chowmein leads to hormonal imbalance evoking an urge to indulge in such acts.”
Jamaat-E-Islami Hind (Islamist organisation). Statement released by Secretary General Nusrat Ali: “Co-education should be abolished and proper education facilities meant exclusively for women should be available at all level of education. Educational institutions should prescribe sober and dignified dress for girls.” (Times of India)
This place is unsafe for women! It’s not about just Delhi or Mumbai or Bangalore or any other metro city, it’s about the horizon. The moment we step out of our place: “Will a rickshaw be a safe option or the local bus? This auto driver looks skeptical I should wait for the next one! It’s late, I should inform someone and they must keep a track on me! Do I have a Women Safety app on my hand phone? Is my pepper spray ready for use at any minute?” My mind is full of all these thoughts “always”. There is no minute of my day when I don’t have to calculate all this aspects of being a “Woman” in this society.
Nobody but us have to move up and get rid of this patriarchal mindset. How can we blame “the society”, we are a part of it! If I ask this question today, what have I done to change the situation or just to change the mindset, or the least to improve anything; I stand blank. I have done NOTHING, and if I have not, how can I question anyone else around.