By Mayank Jain:
Far from the crazy rush to enter into discotheques and party the night off, there are beelines of women in almost another part of this country to defecate because it has gotten dark and there won’t be any fear of being stared at while they sit out in the open in the outskirts of their village.
Open defecation as a practice has been plaguing our country since time immemorial but the real disappointment lies in the fact that most parts of the country are years away from getting toilets. People still continue to live in ignorance and girls and women continue getting stared at. There is nothing hidden or private about their lives anymore as they are required to go and sit in an open field every day and be wary of peeping strangers or people from their own neighbourhood.
Staring is not even the slightest of the problems when compared with the larger issues of stalking and rapes by lecherous men who follow them while they are on their way to defecate and take advantage of the open fields devoid of human contact. Open defecation is becoming a major breeding ground for rapes and lots of women have already faced the wrath of this evil in the form of rapes or harassment. In Bihar alone, 40% of rape cases are that of women raped when they go to defecate in the open. And this is only one state we are talking about. The situation is as worse as it can be.
Women have suffered in this country time and again and this time it is the lack of a sanitation system at home that has forced them to go out. The issue of open defecation needs to be tackled on priority because there are certainly no options for these young girls and ladies who want a little privacy and safety of their homes while they defecate.
Not only is the practice responsible for the loss in dignity but it also leaves them ill because of contamination of both air and water and they lose out on the important areas like educating their children or taking care of the ill in the family. This practice has become cancerous and needs to be eradicated.
If the governments and authorities are too blind to see the need then the people must wake up and ask for toilets because until we eradicate the practice of open defecation and dry toilets which are popular in the rural areas, any dream is too far away from reality. Joint efforts including demand from people and awareness programs in the cities that bring issues to light can go a long way in widespread realization of the harsh realities of the people just a few hundred kilometers far from us and make everyone take notice of the situation.
Just subsidy is not enough and there needs to be a big communication and action revamp that makes women and their families realize the value of a toilet and when the demand comes, authorities should be ready to turn the defecation lands into healthy playgrounds and schools for children who now defecate in their own toilets at home. It is a utopia but no dream is too big when people get determined.
Youth Ki Awaaz has tied up with UNICEF India to give you the opportunity to speak against the menace of open defecation, and get your ideas, solutions and discussion points delivered directly to the President of India. Click here to join the discussion.