In the recent past a number of incidents of ‘Atrocities against Women’ has been reported by the media but the vox populi seems to have numbed. Our collective conscience seems to have gone on an Auto mode. No more the candle light marches, seen after the ‘Nirbhaya’ episode. No more raising slogans. No more student agitation. It seems to have been accepted as part of the scenery. Just passes by as you pass by life.
A law student killed in gruesome manner, very akin to Nirbhaya, in Kerala. A young girl tortured and murdered in Ahmedabad. A girl raped twice over by the same assailants. A small girl raped and made to wait at the Police Station the whole day before the complaint could be lodged (the tests need to be performed within 24 hours). Where is the fury? The rage? The Justice Verma Committee came up with several recommendations. He chiefly blamed failure of governance. Despite the Act, passed with great fervour, it doesn’t seem to have helped much.
Stalking and voyeurism are offences punishable by seven years in jail. There is not a single case of anyone put behind bars. Stalking continues. Voyeurs continue to spy. The first place to go after any incident is the Police Station. It is here that the law has to transcend from the exalted books to action. And yet it is here that we fail miserably.
The proposed Bill of Rights for Women, which would entitle women to a life of dignity and security and ensure that she has the right to complete sexual autonomy including with respect to her relationships is hardly even talked about. Fact is, as a society, somewhere we have abdicated our sense of responsibility. We are looking for some ‘Mr India’, who’ll come and sweep away all our ills. We are therefore NOT taking the onus; passing the buck and NOT standing up and are NOT being counted.
The Delhi rage should’ve pushed us for stricter and faster reforms and their implementation. But sadly we missed the bus. Public anger did not translate into action and the fury did not manifest as a law. The misogynists and criminals rampantly harass women in several ways and sadly the onus is put on the women. That she drew the ire of the assailant, she dressed skimpily, or somehow it was all her mistake.
It’ll take time to change mindsets. The law should be a deterrent. But it is a provocating thought that should get us going. A few years down the line, “it’ll be my daughter walking down the street. If the street is unsafe today, will it be safe for her tomorrow?”
If the answer is an univocal NO, then ask yourself, what are you doing about it?