Afraid to step out. Afraid to face the world. Afraid of dark, dingy lanes. Afraid of all those men waiting to pounce on me. Yes, I am afraid. I think a zillion times before stepping out. I am scared of walking alone on the streets. Public transport has become a nightmare. From groping uncles in buses to rogue auto drivers; to cat-calls and filthy perverted stares. It just isn’t safe anymore, anywhere. So what really is the solution? Should we just stay holed up in our houses? Who is to be blamed? Provocative dressing or the filthy minds of men? It doesn’t really make any sense. After struggling, studying and working to stay independent and then on the other hand relying on men to save them from these filthy rogues that walk the street. After what happened with Nirbhaya, more and more rape cases have come to light. It is a wrong misconception that after the Delhi incident the rape count has increased; it’s just that now the society is more aware and the women are no longer afraid to report the assaults.
After Delhi, West Bengal tops the chart for eight successive years when it comes to cases related to crime against women. Bengal has seen a 60% jump in rapes since 2011. Bengal is steadily turning into a criminals’ paradise. Kolkata, which is often dubbed as the safest among the metro city, has the third highest sexual harassment cases. While cases of harassment if women are declining nationally, it has shot up in Bengal. More women are raped here than Delhi, Haryana or any other state. Another gang-rape made it to the front page this month. A 21-yr-old shopping mall employee, in the heart of Kolkata, was gang-raped by five men and dumped at Babughat. Bleeding, she walked 3.5 km from Babughat to Howrah station and managed to inform her relatives and then was hospitalized. (source: TOI 21.1.14)
Delayed legal action and almost frequent character assassination of the victim have emboldened the trend. Also the Juvenile Justice Act which seeks to protect all those that fall under it, gives a free rein to the underage offenders. I, like the many others, believe that if a juvenile is old enough to heinously rape a woman then he is old enough to face the consequences and to be punished for his deeds.The JJ Act, 2000, tries to reform a young offender’s conduct rather than confine him for decades in a prison and does not allow the offender to be tried as an adult. A remand home, according to me, is a benign penalty for such a grave offense.
Instead of adding to the venom and the vileness, let us try to use our agony in a constructive fashion. How do we stop rapes? How do we make India, safer for women? Policing, stricter laws and fast justice need to be in place to punish these people. It serves as an example for future rapists. Justice delayed is justice denied. Compulsory Moral education in school: which would make up for the lack of moral values in an individual Our entertainment industry needs to stop objectifying women. It is time we put iron clamps on those Bollywood movies that follow the standard misogynist template. Inequality implies that there is a difference in power, control and rights. When women are seen as unequal, it creates a notion that justifies exercising power and control over them. So Gender Equality is a must. Kiran Bedi rightly points out that, “The community and the Police need to work together..” It has to be a joint effort, to make India a women-friendly nation. A country free from rapes.