|The people of India are outraged|
Rapists roam free, rapes increasing alarmingly – Is the Justice and Law & Order system in India proving to be toothless?
Hopes dashed to the ground
Reading the newspaper is turning out to be a distressing exercise everyday as we read about rape after rape, with some instances more ghastly and inhuman than we can come to terms with.
After the Nirbhaya case on 16th December 2012, there was nationwide uproar and everyone condemned the horrendous act. Many of us thought that things would change for the better where rape cases are concerned. We believed that there would be more convictions and rapists will receive severe and fitting punishment in order to deter more men from following their example and raping women.
It is to our grief that we have learned that no such thing happened. We have been shocked to see that a rape culture has emerged where even juveniles are involved in raping girls. Moreover, little babies and elderly women too have not been spared by these rapists. What is worse, we have not seen any worthwhile effort from the Law & Order Machinery and Judiciary to ensure that women in our country receive justice and do not have to live in fear of being raped. The pertinent question is why have the courts allowed rapist after rapist to walk free?
|The Wake Up Call: Will these rapists also walk free?|
Have we learned from the past?
We want to see factual figures of how many rapists were allowed to walk free after destroying the lives of our daughters by their evil act. Over the last 50 years, how many cases of rape have been reported. [We would have to presume that the actual figures of rape that occurred in our country were far higher because many women don’t have the courage to come forward to report after being raped.] Of these reported rape cases – how many rapists were convicted? We want to know the kind of punishment meted out to them and how many received life sentence or capital punishment. We want a government body to make these statistics public. We also want human rights activists to bring out their own report concerning this so that we can be aware of any discrepancy in reporting the true figure from the official end.
This report should reveal the number of men with a history of raping women and the effect it has had on the younger generation of boys and men who came after them. From the statistics collected we need to study the trends and mark the states and areas where rape has been rampant and justice was hindered. The law and order machinery would most likely be compromised in such areas and they would be more tilted to favor the rapists rather than the victims.
The Wake Up Call: Will these rapists also walk free?
In the Hyderabad case of the 26 year old veterinarian, we have learned that the case has been assigned to a fast track court. While it is good that a speedy judgment will be given, it is now even more pertinent than ever that the judgment that not only deters but puts an end to the rising rape incidents in our nation.
While we can see many people protest and those in authority support the cause and take a stand, this is not a matter that should die down after a few days of making noise. We have to take this as a national challenge. Can we change things and make it safe for our daughters to go out without fear? Will the parents of girls be able to live in peace without fearing the worst for their daughters?
Time for Action
We certainly need action to be taken on a war footing in this matter. We need campaigns humanize men who secretly think it is okay to rape women. We need to sensitize men and boys and women and girls about this issue. Self defense for girls should be made mandatory in all schools. Self defense classes for women should be started in all neighborhoods, places of work and communities should begin to equip women to fight against their potential attackers.
We need special rehabilitation to be provided for women who have suffered rape since rape causes grave trauma that amounts to loss of identity, confidence and makes them powerless, robbing them of the chance to have a good future. Healing from such trauma can take several years and for some the scars are lifelong. In most cases in India, there are social consequences for the girl/women and her family too as a result of the rape. These issues need to be addressed and practical things have to be done to ensure the woman can have everything she needs to live a good life.
We need a National Sex Offender Registry just like the US and other nations have. This registry should be publicly accessible so that anyone in doubt can verify if a man is a sex offender.
Failure is not an option
The Supreme Court would do well to set up a special authority endowed with powers to investigate where the law and order machinery has compromised justice. This authority should be able to take action against the officials and departments concerned and provide the survivors and their family compensation and support to get their lives back on track.
India had the shameful distinction of being the most dangerous nation for women in 2018. ThomsonReuters Foundation released a study that ranked India as the most dangerous place because of its high incidences of sexual violence, lack of access to justice in rape cases, child marriage, female feticide and human trafficking. It is time these rankings made us angry enough to change things for good permanently.
|The little girl asked them, "What kind of world are you leaving behind for me?"|
Wake up Daughters of India!
"Wake up from your sorrow O sister of mine,
Look up to a morrow that is yours and mine,
We'll fight with society, we'll strive for our rights!
And never cease striving though we give up our lives."
These are lyrics of a song I wrote and composed some years ago - it was specially written to represent a women's project of the College of Social Work for a special programme. Today those words represent the cry of my heart too... for the daughters of our land - India!
You can find the song here...