Yes! That’s my question and probably the question of every woman who fears going out alone after the clock ticks 7, no matter how independent she is.But Alas, the tragedy is that as always there is no one to answer this question in a nation of 1.21 billion population and still counting.
RBI recently announced its all-women banks’ launch by October 2013 where the main employees as well as the customers will be women, but I wonder if steps like these are really a sufficient way to empower women.Our Indian parliament is proud to have provided a 33% women participation clause in almost every sphere, we are proud to have a female speaker, a female ex-president of India, an increase in female enrolment rate and what not but we can also not ignore the 80% increase in rape cases since 2002 pan India! India despite being 66 years old had still in-germinated seeds of women empowerment.According to the Human Development report 2013, the Gender Inequality index,an indicator of the inequality in status and opportunities for the women in the population,assessed on the basis of Labour Market,Empowerment and reproductive health placed India at 132nd position which is in stark contrast to our claims to being a progressive society and a developing nation.
just an opinion, every year every raksha-Bandhan when I tie rakhi on my brother’s wrist who by the way is younger than me, I wonder why and how will HE protect me.Why is there no ritual of tying a rakhi on sister’s hand.Isn’t it simply the patriarchal values of Indian society at display?I think this tradition itself instills a sense of mediocrity in women that men are stronger than them and better capable of protecting them.
The Nirbhaya gang rape case shattered the entire nation, there were mass protests and also a hope of a safer place for Indian women in near future but the recent Mumbai gang rape is a blow to that false hope. I came across this news and it was a Déjà vu.Mumbai was earlier considered the safest all cities, in fact women preferred moving there for jobs etc but what now?Where do they go now?
I recently read a news where a girl’s mother forced her to marry an HIV+ just because of the financial assistance which was received.The girl was raped several times before she reported to a nearby police station.Why did she wait so long?Well, the answer lies in the fact that our country is a “High-context” country .It is high on its traditions, customs, moral values. That girl did not want to defame her mother, but a woman who herself is out to sell her daughter loses all rights to be a mother or infact a woman.In India, there are a whopping 90% of the rape cases where the rapist is known to the victim, and this is the figure when a high number of the sexual assaults are not on records.
We hear people talking that may be it was girl’s dress that provoked the rapists, may be she was at a wrong place and at a wrong time but what reason do they give for the rape of a 1.5 years old girl child who was raped in Kolhapur?
We say that reforms at political, legal and police level need to enforced to ensure safety of women.However, I don’t think so or may be I am too cynical to think and trust that “supposed” antidote. we have our Member of Parliaments (MPs) and Member of Legislative Assembly (MLAs)caught watching porn, we have our so- called spiritual leaders accused of sexual assault charges, we have cops who rape a girl in a polics chowki near marine Drive. where do we go?The worst part of all is that a sensitive issue like rape is politicised every now and then.
There are a few spheres where changes can have real impact on women protection. The nexus between politicians and police need to be axed so that a sense of independence and more importantly, a sense of accountability is established.At judiciary levels, I think there is a crying need to establish fast-track courts for rape and sexual assaults cases, we should set a definite time frame for the redressal of the woes and not keep it on hold.More important is the successful and pervasive implementation of the anti-rape laws that were amended after the ghastly Nirbhaya case.I, to some extent also support capital punishment for this offence,the sense of impunity that is waxing today has to be stemmed and fear of death is the biggest fear.Many people highlight the signigicance of education in bringing women at par with men but there are cases of sexual assault at work places where one expects a well-educated lot of peope and this brings me to the next change that is a change if mind-set.
The real change needs to be at the mind level. Yeah, that’s right, we need to change the mind set of men as well as women.Men need to understand that women are NOT to be used an object of sex and pleasure; they need to get out of their apocryphal dominance and women not only need to know their rights but have to be trained to use them. As Late Pt.Jawaharlal Nehru said, “You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women” and rape is a weapon of mass control , a display of tyrannical form of patriarchy and the worst way of marginalisation of women. In Dwaparyuga, Draupadi symbolised womanhood and lord krishna saved her from cheerharan but India needs its saviour today AGAIN!
India, without addressing these women issues can not and should not expect to realise its dream of becoming a super-power because growth has to be for everybody and by everybody irrespective of sex,caste, and creed.
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