Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Is India really Free or Freedom paradoxical?

Is India really Free or Freedom paradoxical?
One year completes since the Delhi Gang rape took place, which shook the consciousness of every Indian. An unprecedented protest occurred post the occurrence of this sheer level of cruelty. In spite of the unresponsive government the highly agitated protest led to a tough anti rape law coming into existence. The entire episode where the public took the responsibility of obtaining justice, to the contrary the government taking a cold approach to the incident resulted in one of the reasons for Congress losing power in Delhi.
In my opinion, our response to any cruelty against women shouldn’t be looked through a prism of convenience, however should have an overall approach.  Mostly we see, those who outrage about the rape in Delhi or Mumbai never speak about rapes in Madhya Pradesh or Rajasthan, our response to rapes are based on our political allegiance. Those who asked for punishment against Delhi rape victims were silent when a God man and son came into scrutiny.  Those who were vocal about molestation in Tehelka were silent when a girl and her family were stalked and harassed by Prime Ministerial nominee of a party. Were the media that chased for the blood of Tehelka chief hiding, when a case against Dainik Bhaskar group CEO came to light?  Why don’t we have an outraged behaviour from people, when the law enforcing agencies rape women in Manipur or Kashmir? For the fact even Supreme Court judges showed its true colour when Justice Ganguly who  got accused in sexual molestation of a junior,  refused resignation and SC panel didn’t recommend criminal action against Justice Ganguly .
I believe that rather than talking about harassment towards women in pockets, we should equally treat and fight against every molestation, cruelty and harassment towards women. Women in a village of Kashmir or Kanyakumari are equal and deserve to be equally respected to that of women in Delhi, Mumbai or Hyderabad. While in the media Nirbhaya became news, 100s of Nirbhaya incidents across India should also create awareness and drive a revolution to protect every woman in this country irrespective of the region they belong to. Gang rape in Kolkata has to be equally treated to a gang rape in Madhya Pradesh as well as in Delhi.
 Sometimes I really wonder while reading the opinion of youth supporters of political parties where they politicise rape based on the party in rule or the political leanings of the accused. Surprisingly the people who need to take the first step to support the victim are the ones who play a major role in the character assassination of the victim.  Anybody drawing such conclusions about an individual (victim) is doing the second cruellest thing to that individual, the prime cruelty being “rape”. We need to build a society where support to the victim should run parallel to fighting for justice for such act.  The support has to be equal irrespective of the caste, creed, education back ground and race, and fight for justice has to be seamless.
As per National Crime Records Bureau  out of 24,923 rapes reported  in 2012 – the accused are of the following categories;  parent/close family members‒ 393 (1.6%), other relatives ‒1,585 (6.4%), neighbours ‒8,484 (34%), other known persons ‒ 14,008 (56.2%), and unknown persons‒453 (1.8%).
The above statistics clearly shows that in our country, the accused in 98.2% rapes of the total rapes are known to the victim, it’s either a relative or neighbour. Here the occurrence of the rape is inevitable, and stopping of it from happening, by the police is close to impossible because these scenarios are quite evidently out of their area of influence for a law enforcer. The only action that can be taken by the police is getting the offender to the law, post the occurrence, only if the case is filed.
In my opinion, deterioration of value and integrity in our society is more critical than depreciation of the value of currency. It’s time we wake up and address the crux of the issue. Find solution to issues like; why men are seeing every woman, known or unknown as a medium to provide sexual pleasure? Why bosses use their position for sexual favours from subordinate? Why do old men molest young girls? Why incest is increasing in our society? Why are we missing the ancient Indian culture where women were treated as goddess? Is the increasing gap between haves and have-nots is a reason for sexual assaults?
We are all aware of the unwelcoming behaviour of some men towards women in crowded places and especially in public transports. Now it has become an accepted behaviour of frustrated men. I have personally felt and witnessed incidents of stalking, molestation leading to mental harassment. And I am sure, majority of the women have had such experiences in some or the other form. Everyday women go through such experiences, whether it is stalking, rape or molestation. Few cases get reported, 90% of it doesn’t fearing the reputation or perception of the society.
I am not trying to accuse all men for these incidents; however there is something fundamentally wrong with our educational system. Focus of our educational institution has to take shift from creating society of literates to creating responsible citizens.
Research shows an undeniable link between poverty and sexual violence. Perpetrators of sexual violence target individuals who seem vulnerable, and poverty in itself is vulnerable in any form whether it be due to reasons like age, race, disability, sexual orientation, immigrants from other states, income etc..;  victims and survivors are mostly caught in situations, created by poverty.
Poverty is among the biggest root causes of sexual violence and has a daily presence in the lives of many victims and survivors of sexual assault. Therefore, the thread of economic advocacy must be woven through the fabric of all intervention and prevention efforts. We should support social welfare schemes that would empower the poor and poverty. Fight against alcoholism and drugs, as in many rape cases and child molestation cases offenders were on the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Crimes against women is like corruption in India both disables a state from meeting its obligation to respect, fulfil and protect the human rights of citizens. Just a strong law won’t stop it. We need administrators with conviction to implement it. We need to create awareness, make sure that offenders are punished, and take the responsibility to relieve youngsters from the clutches of alcohol and drugs, creating an educational system and parental guidance to create responsible citizens, ultimately a Free India in True sense.

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