Archit Gupta, NLIU, Bhopal
The infamous Delhi Gang Rape 2012 has left the whole nation and world devastated and shattered. It was impossible to think that such kind of brutality could take place in relatively safer parts of National Capital of world’s largest democracy. A medical intern who was travelling with her male friend in a private bus was brutally raped, her private parts mutilated and thrown naked on winter streets near the Indira Gandhi National Airport. It could have been one of those few incidents which take place every day in Delhi, but its sheer brutality had shocked everyone. It was a collective failure of police, judiciary, media, political leadership and society which has led to this incident. When agitated citizens tried to protest across the country, they were met with brute reprisals and insensitive comments from the very people who are supposed to protect them. This not only showed the amount of perversity and degradation that has taken place in our society, but is also shows the lack of governance and lawlessness prevalent in our democracy. However, the death of medical intern changed the things for a while. The government was forced to come from its slumbers and enact a new law aimed at curbing crimes against women. The international organizations strongly condemned this incident and government faced flak from every quarters. Even politicians were forced to back track their statements and judiciary decided to fast track the cases against women. It seemed that the flame would not die and there would be some permanent in the attitude of the society. But has anything really changed after this heinous incident. The number of incident has continued to rise not only in Delhi, but all across country. Crimes with similar brutality are being reported all across the country. Those pockets of the country which were considered safe for woman are also showing similar incidents. Even bureaucrats and judges are facing accusations of sexual crimes. The newspapers are carrying stories of sexual crimes every day. Girls are facing stringent curfews across the country and as a result their overall personality development is being harmed.
Women have been advancing, progressing and have proved that they can beat men in any sector they are in. Be it sports, arts, science, politics, service or for that matter anywhere, she has stood at par with what a man could do. But the old thoughts and upbringing culture still lay cluttered in the minds of men that women should not be above men, but below them. It is sad to understand that women are the better halves of the society, yet they are the ones who face the maximum tortures in many ways in their lives. All though men have been considered to be superior to women in all societies, but in our society, women have been traditionally placed in a disadvantaged position. They are considered burden who live homes of their parents, marry someone and then the parents will have to pay dowry for her, will a son is considered is considered as someone who will bring financial benefits and will take care of parents in their old age. One might think that such mindset is prevalent in our lower or uneducated strata of society. But even upper-class and well educated are suffering from this mentality. It also stems from the rising crime rate against women. Parents are increasingly getting worried about their ability to protect their girl child. It is a vicious cycle where a sexual crime sparks fear in the society and this leads to girl child being considered a burden. As a result we are witnessing a rise in cases of female feticides and infanticide and we have one of worst sex ratios in the world.
The change in this regard can be made through sustained societal efforts and focusing on youngsters. The need to give respect women and girls should begin at home and then at community level. If a father beats mother in front of his son, then this is going to make a very bad impression on the son and he is going to treat his wife in a similar manner. If a sister sees her brother getting all his basic needs and herself being neglected, then she might also consider herself as a third class citizens. If young boys are not stopped from commenting and whistling at girls, then it is an invitation for them to commit worst type of crimes, such as rape, dowry burning, acid attacks, etc. Apart from imparting value education, they should be made to understand the consequences of action both in terms of emotional costs as well as legal consequences. It has often been found that worst form of sexual crimes is committed by those men who had little interaction with women in free environment. Patriarchy not only affects the women, but it equally affects the men.
India has second largest world population with majority being in the age group of 25-35. It is considered as young country and there is potential to harness this resource. But the same resource has seemed to become a threat to fabric structure of society. Most of our population comprises of illiterate and unemployed young men. This along with other factors such as rampant lawlessness, easy access to pornography, sexual objectification of women and deep socio-economic divide make conditions ripe for crimes against women. In the aftermath of Delhi Gang rape case, two more cases highlighted the nexus between growing sexual crimes and pornography. A 5-year old child was raped by two laborers in East Delhi and her private parts were mutilated. In Mumbai, a girl was raped at abandoned mills and she was forced to do act shown in a pornographic clip by the accused. In recent Bangalore child rape case, the instructor was found with child porn videos. While it is difficult to say that internet pornography is directly contributing to rising no of rape cases, the tendency of young as well as older men to believe in acts shown in pornography and constant exposure to it, along with lack of sex education is making them sexually frustrated. This form of frustration is often relived in form of violence as shown in the abovementioned cases.
Mahatma Gandhi had rightly said that when a woman can walk freely in India, only then we can achieve our independence. We can have half our population living in fear on constants abuse and assaults. A civilized society can be judged by the way how it treats its women. We might want to call ourselves as a modern nation, but with these kinds of cases being reported every day, not only our international reputation is being sullied, but is also affecting our economy too.