Rape, rape, rape. This word has become a common visiter in our news, journals and social media. The news of rape cases has made a permanent place in the front pages of journals. The word, which was to be heard with abhorrence, has now turned out to be super normal. Again, a rape case is reported. This time, the girl is raped by her own father while her mother was busy stuffing her mouth with a cloth to make sure that no screams left the room. Her mother said that they were ashamed after finding out the girl’s relationship with a boy in their neighbourhood and hence wanted to punish her. Her father added that this “forceful penetration or rape itself” would make things much easier and less painful once she gets married. A father taught his daughter a lesson in a way which is completely shocking.
We are familiar with the names of Nirbhaya, Ashifa, Priyanka and many more. Who is responsible for their brutal fate? A rapist or our very own patriarchal society? Life of a rape survivor is very difficult. The survivor has to face traumatic events. Even the survivor blames herself for everything and most often this leads to depression or even suicide. Most commonly they feel ashamed and guilty. They lose their interest in everything. The most common reaction is fear and anxiety.
In this 21st century women are not safe anywhere, not even in their own homes. Rape is a most common crime in India. In Delhi only, five women get raped every day. According to a report, in India more than 2.4 lakh cases are pending in courts related to rape and sexual abuse cases which are under the Protection of Children from Sexual offences (POCSO) Act. According to government data, a woman is raped approximately every 15 minutes. As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) from 2001-2017, 4,15,786 rape cases were reported across India. In other words, three women were raped per hour. Rape is henious but yet one of the most sheltered crimes. Some people stand against rape and protest against it, whereas most of them spit at the victim and curse her to live with the misery as if she invited it.
There are lot of myths about rape and one of them is that wearing short dresses, tight tops or short skirts is like giving an invitation to rapists. If clothes provoke the rapists then what is the society’s explanation when a 9-month old baby girl was raped? A dress is not an invitation to a rapist, even women in burkhas also get raped.
Men dominate most of the Indian households. Their voices are the only powerful and their acts are the only considerable ones. Society accepts that mistakes are only made by the minor. “It’s her fault” is the taboo for every crime done by the latter. What can we expect from a society where ogling the women is accepted but teaching men moral education is not?
Another myth is that women shouldn't go out alone at night. But why isn’t anybody asking the men in their houses to protect any human from getting abused or attacked? At work or any public places, they undergo frequent trauma out of fear. Women are not even safe at home. We are living in a world where women are abused brutally by their own families.
A dress or staying outdoors late at night is not what is entertaining this crime. But a license which allows men to exercise freedom and ruthless behaviour right from their birth is what is hurting the Indian daughters. Men should be taught to treat women with dignity. Even after marriage, both of the partners should respect each other's feelings and should not indulge in any sexual act without the other one’s consent.
A “no” is no. And her refusal should not be met with bruises on her body but with due respect.
The punishment for rape in India is 7 years imprisonment on the other side, in countries like China, Afganistan and Egypt, rapists are sentenced to death. Rape is an unpardonable crime. The death penalty should be imposed on rapists in India also so that every man can think once before sexually assaulting a woman or a minor.
Due to pressure in society, most women do not report cases which will encourage rapists. Some women also feel uncomfortable to speak in the presence of a male police officer so there is a need for more women officers. There is a lack of toilets in villages and women have to go outside. Those women can be easily targeted by rapists. Illiteracy can also be a factor. If a woman is educated she must stand for her rights because she is aware of it. But rape can be committed by any man doesn't matter whether he is literate or not. A literate man can also rape a woman. So society must change their mentality towards women.
Our society has treasured patriarchy in a way that the rape victims do not even dare to report or file complains against the culprits. There are dozens of times when the victim was sent back or attacked brutally by the police officers.
Even today, some of the rural areas are not facilitated with proper sanitation. Women are forced to take baths in public, with men being the frontliners to watch and assault. (I feel immense disgust to use the word enjoy).
Therefore, women help centres should be actively patrolling even in rural areas. At Least 2 women police officers should be assigned to each station.
The major reform our country has to bring in is our education system. It should be taught that sex and rape are not the same. Sex education should be provided for all teenagers. Treating both genders equally should be a motto practised in all institutions.
Gender equality has to come from home. The male generation has to be nourished with values and good behaviour. It is to be taught that a woman is not property that you can own and use. No one can judge a woman's clothes or where they like to go. Men should understand that a woman is not an object which you can use and destroy. She is also a human, who stands equal to men. Our society should be polished in such a way that rape survivors are not bullied but taken care of. Stories of women who fell into serious physical and mental conditions are very disturbing. Their lives were destined to move forward with flying colours and not to sink into a coma. Women should stand against the culprits and should especially start ignoring society. Many NGO's are also working for rape survivors by spreading awareness.
Dreaming about a tomorrow where women will not have to carry pepper sprays and pocket knives is very near if a small resolution to educate within the houses is made. For now, let us build the women army stronger by openly talking about the nightmares you have been through. Let's strengthen our physique and let us design a new world for our sisters.
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