Body is the biggest burden for a woman, the burden of safeguarding her body takes a toll. She does not feel safe inside or outside the house. Woman is God’s best creation, yet the worst sufferer. It is very sad to say that our country is not a better place for women. According to the National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB), India recorded 88 rape cases every day in 2019. NCRB report highlights that rape vulnerability of a girl or woman has increased up to 44% in the last 10 years. Every day there are cases of gang rape, brutal murder, protest, demonstrations, online petition. We all blame her for being out late hours, for wearing revealing, western dresses, for being in male company and the list is endless. But what about a three years baby girl and what will she wear?
Reasons behind increasing rape cases:
1) Patriarchal mindset: Human beings are social animals; it is society that shapes their attitudes, thinking and beliefs. Rape exists because of patriarchal misogynistic culture that overlooks it, whether implicitly or explicitly. Patriarchy has conditioned men to believe in their superiority. The males are always considered as more powerful than women, of which they take advantage.
2) Objectification of women by entertainment industries is another reason why males take them for granted. The way women are portrayed in film songs, the words used to describe them are really very disgusting.
3) Delayed punishment: Awarding death penalty is subject to the rarest of rare cases. Death penalty will be pronounced if the crime has been committed in an extremely cruel and dreadful manner. The compulsory death penalty is against the constitutional rights of equality, right to live and personal liberty guaranteed under articles 14 and 21. In case death penalty is granted execution takes ages.
4) Forbidden things are fascinating: In our society people hesitate to discuss about sex or menstruation openly and hide such things from their grownup sons and daughters. The typical conservative mindset of parents and family members restrict their children to interact with the opposite sex.
5) Lack of awareness: Our society, families, schools and institutions fail to bring awareness among children, youths regarding sex, sex related crimes. No proper counseling is provided to grownup boys and girls. The girls cannot share their problems with anyone even if they are bullied, harassed.
6) Lack of Infrastructure: Due to lack of toilet facility women have to go outside for defecation and going out in the evening, or in the night hours is not safe for them. There are many roads, streets, lanes without streetlights, or streetlights are not working which causes darkness. Dark and lonely stretches are best places for any kind of crime, or rape.
In spite of all problems, measures should be taken to ensure safety and security for women at any cost.
A complete women safety mechanism is required: Make the city women safe. Here what I mean to say is why women can’t go outside in late hours? Rather stop male movement, if it can’t be done then deploy police in every nook and corner, crowded and lonely places, and 4 to 5 women cops must be there in each group. Restaurants, petrol pumps, theatres other 24 hours operated business hubs must appoint more number of women employees. Hostels must set campus entry deadlines both for boys and girls, if they don’t obey the rule just suspend them and inform their parents, guardians.
Police reform/ smart policing: A new division in police should be formed to handle rape cases in which more women cops should be there. Two to three toll free numbers must be given, WhatsApp group, Facebook page, email facility must be in use for 24 hours. The police personnel must monitor the crime activities, must prepare an area wise database of hooligans, criminals. A 24 hours helpline and booths must be opened in all parts of the city. There should be mandatory rules both for private and public transports to employ women safety forces (having more number of women staff). GPS tracking systems must be used in auto rickshaws, cabs, buses. Safety watches with GPS tracker, alarm system must be provided to girls, one and unique women safety government app must be developed and used.
Installation and maintenance of streetlights must be done. Building toilets can stop women going for open defecation and that will stop rape cases. One-stop destinations for providing legal, medical and police aid to victims will be very welcoming.
Night drop vans, cabs, auto rickshaws must be introduced and run having more women staff which can pick up and drop women in late hours even.
National level Network of volunteers: Every Panchayat, village, block, and city, and district, state must be connected by a large network of volunteers; they should be available all the time for safeguarding women. It should work 24 hours from Delhi to Mumbai to Kolkata to a village in Jharkhand, or Odisha.
Psycho-Social counseling sessions must be conducted in schools and colleges to take feedback from girls, parents at home must take feedback to know if anything wrong happens with their girls.
Societal Change: In our society people should openly discuss about sex and sex related crimes, about menstruation. Parents must treat their male and female children equally and should not allow them to remain aloof, isolated.
Sex education must be imparted to students, youths must be sensitized on sex, and sex related crimes about rape too.
Self-defense training in school and colleges must be mandatory.
Both print and electronic media must raise the issues, can sensitize people and create pressure on decision making bodies.
Amendment of acts is the need of the hour to ensure that the rapists get the maximum to maximum punishment. Our law should be strict about sexual offences, about rape and it will definitely create havoc among the rapists. Swift and harsh, stringent punishment will reduce the number of rape cases in our country.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.