Violence against Women: A Social Stigma

Author: Sandeep Suresh

Violence against Women, this title needs no further introduction in the present Indian scenario where the citizens of this diverse nation have come forward together to fight a socially immoral crime legally. Like a siren, the recent row of rape and molestation cases has opened many eyes in this nation. Especially, the gang rape of the girl fictionally named Nirbhaya in Delhi in mid-December has opened streams of parallel protests and demands. For the past 2-3 weeks, almost all the major cities have witnessed some sort of protest condemning the fateful Delhi incident.

Violence against Women: A Social Stigma
Image Courtesy: naaree.com

The Union Government is not only facing the agony of common masses in the roads, but the chaos inside the Parliament caused by the opposition parties and parties within the UPA coalition has also put the Government under pressure. In such a situation, it is necessary to understand the crux of these protests. The prime demand by the protesters is the introduction of death penalty as the punishment for rapists. True, rape is not less atrocious a crime than murder. But is death penalty an answer for all the problems? Firstly, there has been a long standing call for abolishing death penalty as a deterrent punishment for any crime in the international arena.

On 20th November 2012, the General Assembly of the United Nations had introduced a resolution ((http://news.outlookindia.com/items.aspx?artid=781236))for abolishing death penalty to maintain civilised societies all over the world. Unfortunately, instead of abolishing death penalty, India abolished the resolution itself. Our nation is one among the only 58 nations that are still in favour of execution of convicts. India’s argument in voting against the resolution was that, as a sovereign nation, it had all the rights to set up its own kind of legal system and procedures. Can sovereignty be a bar for respecting human rights and other civil rights of a nation’s subjects? Sovereignty should be armour for the nations to protect the citizens from outside forces and not for upholding such inhumane measures.

In the context of the judiciary as well, the usage of death penalty is also suffering from major drawbacks. Judicial misinterpretations and the inconsistent application of the decision in Bachan Singh v State of Punjab (((1980) 2 SCC 684))in the subsequent cases has made the Judiciary a shameful constitutional body in implementing death penalty. Moreover, doesn’t an eye for an eye make the whole world blind? The reformative theory of punishment advocates this very saying. What is the difference between us and a criminal if we also demand and promote measures like castration or death penalty? The conscience and morality of the population of the world’s largest democracy will be brought under scrutiny.

If we think for a while, it becomes clear that protestors are going hard at the Government due to their agitation and agony. Such horrific incidents have tickled the tender conscience of the masses. We need to calm down ourselves and think logically. Yes, we need to fight against this crime. Can it happen only by demanding for change in laws? As the title reads, any kind of violence against women is not a legal issue per se. It is purely a social issue that needs to be solved involving the minds of human individuals. The law has a role in the latter part only after the crime has happened.

Of course, laws and punishments may act as a deterrent force for those with violent intentions. However, to a person who is not aware of the legal consequences of an act, which majority of the Indian population is, the law doesn’t prevent them from doing a crime. Therefore, with the old proverb which says ‘prevention is better than cure’ in mind, we should try practically to address and prevent these social crimes. It is not intended to mean that legal solutions are unnecessary. Yes, we do need special fast track courts to try such crimes and provide speedy trials by adopting strict measures.

Along with it is necessary to press for huge investments in technology for implementing various safety measures in major cities of India. With the current state of technological and scientific advancement, if the Government budget is structured appropriately, cities can be made safer for our women. Till date, I have not even heard a single line of argument supporting such practical steps. Instead of politicising this issue, let us broaden our vision and thought process to think and effectuate practical solutions for making India a civilised nation.

We the Change…!!

We the Change…!!

Author: Nimisha Jha*

Well, I don’t know why is there such an outrage on the government for the unnamed rape victim who has been christened as “Damini”, “Nirbhaya”, etc.??? I completely fail to understand this. The public has such short memory that it will forget the incident much sooner than they recognised it. We have been made that way. We tend to shout, protest, comment and forget. This is how we have been programmed to work. In a few days time, another breaking news will appear and people will forget everything about this. This is not the first time a girl has been raped.

Every morning when I open the newspaper, there are at least 3-4 rape cases, a minimum of 2 domestic violence cases, a couple of suicides, a few murders, a political scandal and so on and so forth. This is a routine. It happens every single day with us, we girls are molested everyday but then, the question arises who cares?? The people who molest us are the ones we know if not by relation but we do know who they are.

They are the same people who guard us, who are our vegetable vendors, who live next door, a distant relative, and the list is endless. We have been brought up being told that parents care for everything that happens to their children. But, when we tell our parents that some guy has passed a lewd remark or that he tried to grope me or tried to hold me, they say:”hush beta! log kya kahenge??” And I am not telling you a fictional story here. This is what happens to us whenever we complain.

Now, let us talk about the role of the government. What is the most that the govt and the justice system can do??? Let’s assume, hang them. No! Okay then, let’s just castrate them. Not enough! Okay. Let’s publicly lynch them. Happy now!!??? Really!!! Wow!!! But then let me tell you, nothing would help unless we the society change.

Why hasn’t the rape cases reduced in the Arab countries even after such punishment? The point is they won’t. One of my friends commented that the rape statistics in the Arab countries is much lower than in India. I guess we all know how many rape cases get reported in India and also the real statistics and similarly, we are also aware of the rapes in the Arab countries. Let’s just keep the statistics out of this debate.

Coming to the developed countries, these have higher number rape cases than us. Ever wondered why?? I guess not. Are the people in the developed countries illiterate?? No! They are a highly educated and civilised lot, but still they rape?? Ever questioned why??
Let me answer this for you. This is all in the mind.

Each one of the guys who have felt ashamed due to this incident, I would ask you to take a vow that you will never ever whistle at a girl, never look at her like she is on a display window of a shop, never pass a lewd remark on her. Can you do this???
And to all the girls, do not take these remarks and whistles lying down. Please react!! It is time for “nahi chalega!!!” rather than “ye to hota h…”

I don’t want to put the burden of blame on one particular portion but then us as a whole society need to take it up as a common problem. We have to change our attitude from :”koi baat nhi” to “KOI BAAT HAI!!!”…koi baat hai. Guys need to act as human beings and girls we need to react!!! And yes, parents, please “koi nhi…chalta hai” we need to say “koi nhi chalta hai!!” We don’t need to sweep this under the carpet. “Log kya kahenge!” is not important.

We need to change the fundamentalist attitude of the society. But we have to do this ourselves, sadly this is not the work of the government. Also, this is not one isolated incident, this has happened before and if we don’t change this will happen again. We need to rise towards a bright future and a safer tomorrow.

When we the Republic of India will rise against such crimes only then can we blame the government. We don’t have any right to blame the govt because we have not changed ourselves yet. It is time for us to be the change we want to see. Every time something as trivial as a pothole on the road comes up, or someone does not throw the garbage properly, we Indians have a tendency to blame the govt. We should stand up or at least learn to stand up. Everything cannot be left to the government. How on earth is the government supposed to change the mindset of the society and its people??? I would be delighted if someone would suggest any answer. We have to change. Our minds need to be reset rather than the government’s. The society needs to understand that we women are not objects of pleasure, we are human beings too and we too have rights.

Image courtesy: Crooksandliars.com

There is also a request to the social media to stop f***ing or trying to insert a rod into anyone. Especially the guys should refrain from saying so because it reflects that they still have the sick mentality of the rapists we are talking about. Also, please help people in need. Posting comments on face book and tweeting about it and having a public debate won’t help much. If you really want to work, then go out in the real world and work. Mudslinging and blaming someone for a mishap is the easiest thing to do. We need to act together as a sensible society and teach our children to respect others.

Government is trying to do what it can do in a democratic set up like ours. The Delhi High Court has taken up the suo moto cognizance of the rape case and has asked it to be fast tracked. This is the most that a democratic country can offer. We cannot just barge in and remove the difference between them and us. We are not barbarians as they are. We need to keep our integrity alive. Yes, we do need to react but not against the government. We need to react against the monsters inside us. We as a nation together need to change. We are the question and only we can give the answers. The youth who says that there is a lot of corruption in the society today and express their outrage, where do they go when the time of election comes?? Why do these youth hide behind these social networking sites and think they can make a difference??

The answer is: they cannot make a difference while sitting in front of their laptops and tablets. They need to see the real world where real people face this problem. Many would think that I am trying to pass this off as an exception, but the truth is this is a fact. We are a failure nation when it comes to the safety of our women.

The biggest role played in this is by our own parents. They ask us to dress properly, walk like ladies, do not talk to strangers, do not stay out late night, and the list is endless. The truth is nothing works. Men still view women as objects of pleasure rather than fellow human beings. This is how a mind works. It has been fit into like that. This is not just true for the lower group men but also of the upper class. Whenever a woman sees a group of men walking she takes the narrow lane and tries to avoid them, I have never witnessed a vice versa. Rather the guy will stop by and stare as if there is a whole sale.

We are the change. Protesting against the government will help the least. We have to throw these monsters out of our system. It is our fight. Trying to insert a rod into someone to make him/her feel the pain is not essential. If you feel it, then react. Help a victim. Parents! You need to listen to your child’s cry. We need to come out as we are doing in support of not one Damini or Nirbhaya but for every Damini and Nirbhaya who has silently undergone this trauma, for every woman who has been harassed and molested. We need to come out in protest against such rapists and molester not the government. A place will be safe only when we will make it one. Any number of police vigils is not going to help until we come forward.

Today on this New Year let’s resolve that we will be the change, we will fight for the change and bring in the change.

Jai Hind!!

*Author: Nimisha Jha is a 4th year Law Student from National Law Institute University, Bhopal

**The views expressed in the articles, comments and all other contributions in any other form to The Lex-Warrier: Online Law Journal are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of the Editorial Board or Management Team of Lex-Warrier: Online Law Journal.