Our lifestyle has become better, when will our thinking?

OB-VS498_iwomen_DV_20121218045728By Avantika Seth

*RAPE: a national problem.

*every 5th rape in India took place in Delhi in 2012.

*More than 7200 children are raped each year.

*98% of rapes carried out by relatives and neighbours.

* Young girls are trafficked into prostitution in India, often by women who have been trafficked themselves.

* India is categorized as one of the ‘extreme risk’ countries for trafficking children.

Every rape case scares a million girls around, disturbs a thousand mothers, breaks a lot more daddies and alarms some hundreds of brothers. Well, forgetting about those thousands of mothers or brothers or daddies or for that matter lets even forget about a million girls like me, all I care is about the fact that you’ve terrified me. You’ve scattered my mom’s confidence, you’ve made my father a lot more worried about me and you’ve made my brother think that I’ll always need protection.

Every such case makes me shiver, makes my body feel cramped and my mind feel so threatened. Today, I’m scared to choose whatever I would like to wear because I know if anything grave happens to me your men would never be at fault, it would be my accountability. Today, I fear going by an auto all by myself because I don’t know where your ‘honest ’drivers would take me. Today, I don’t have the strength to sit by myself in a lonesome park because I have no idea when your men would come searching for me. Today, I shirk to step out my house after sunset because I don’t know what ‘your’ night brings for me. Today, I’m frightened to go by a bus because I don’t know how many of your men are going to stare at me. Today, I’m petrified to have a walk alone towards a nearby metro station because I don’t know how many of ‘your’ RAPISTS would catch hold of me.

You’ve shattered my confidence. In fact not just mine, congrats for shaking confidence of all those women who step out their houses every day for making a space for them in this world. I wonder after hearing about such massacres how many of these women would go in for all-girls late night movie! For me, I’ve stepped out. You would be happy to know that my daddy wants me to go everywhere in a group or with at least some company! It feels like I’ve lost my freedom. My brother wants me to wear clothes that do not cross the threshold. My sister wants me to restrain the use of buses and of course my mother, she wants her daughter to reach SAFE back home and hug her tight. Society, where are you going? I wonder why you have chosen the wrong way!

I’m just a normal nineteen year old girl and believe me every time I watch any poor assaulted girl in the television, my heart throbs with FEAR and my eyes redden with disgust, repulsion and hatred. I don’t know what your politicians would do for the victims, I’m unaware about the criminal liability that those remorseful and unashamed offenders are meant to suffer, I just know that ‘HER’ life is at stake and even if she survives her life, I’m not sure of her surviving the world. I am unacquainted with what precautions the government would take, I just know that she has been RAPED and ASSAULTED and I just FEAR THE FACT THAT ‘SHE’ could be ‘ME’ and I’m just too scared for that to happen. But yes, just to tell you, my dreams have not shaken, neither have my reveries nor longings, you’ve made me BOLDER, DARING and COURAGEOUS and I promise to fight you back.

Even after India witnessed the horrific rape in December 2012, the society has still not moved on. We have witnessed cases such as the one that took place on March 15th, when a group of men raped a 39 year old Swiss tourist in Madhya Pradesh and attacked her husband. Four days later a British tourist jumped off the balcony of her hotel room in Agra, fearing the hotel owner was planning to assault her. Because of such incidents visits to India by female tourists has dropped 35%in first three months of 2012 as compared to the previous years. It has been estimated that up to 100,000 children go missing each year, with the majority of them being sexually abused. The Justice Verma panel has said this is due to a rape culture and that missing children are trafficked, sexually assaulted and that the police are complicit in these crimes.

In 2012 Bikram Singh Brahma was accused of raping a woman in the Chirang district of Assam. He was caught by villagers who heard the woman’s screams. He was stripped of his shirt and beaten by locals and was suspended from the ruling Congress party.

Though our society has developed in so many ways, yet our thinking remains primitive and immature. In such an era, we see women as mere objects, unable to identify their powers and strengths. We still kill women because of dowry denial and still make them observe pardah in front of elders. Of course if they wish to wear western clothes, we rape them and accuse them of ‘attracting’ men! I wonder how many girls still feel them as a curse around the world they live in!

No matter how many rapes take place or no matter how many strict regulations we follow, such a national problem can be solved only when we change our thinking! Reports of rape, dowry deaths, molestation, sexual harassment and other crimes against women in India rose by 6.4% in 2012 from the previous years. Marital rape is still not accepted as a criminal offence in Indian legal system. Except in aggravated situation the punishment will be of imprisonment of not less than 7 years but may extend to imprisonment of life also shall be liable to a fine.

In aggravated situations, punishment will be a rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than 10 years but may extend to imprisonment for life and also shall be liable to a fine. Undoubtedly imprisonment would not reduce the crime rate. Only altering the mindset can modify the present scenario! Change can only be brought if each and every individual realises its importance! I personally feel that the revolution can start at the ground level when every father teaches his son to respect and always respect his mother. For mothers don’t just give birth to the child, they make him/her a human being! For it will take an eternity to thank them for what they do and harassing and intimidating them are much beyond just crimes!

If you wish to see the change, undoubtedly you will have to be the change! I wish the day comes closer when harassment in intimidation of women becomes just a history!

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