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Bekhauf Azadi: Ensuring Freedom Without Fear For Women

By Reeti Mahobe:

This issue has been talked about, discussed and written over umpteen number of times particularly since ‘that’ violent incident of December 16, 2012. There still remains a question of how safe are our women and what really has to be done to ensure that? Amongst all those depressing news that has been coming around, we have something we need to cheer about, the journalist who had fallen prey to those criminals has said ‘her life hasn’t ended, she would continue to do reporting.’

This is a bold and warmly welcome step in a society which, to a large extent, doesn’t let go off any chance to ostracize and stigmatize the already victimized persons. Well, it has now been understood by those closely following all that has been said by notable speakers and writers that ‘rape’ is not just an outright expression of sexual urges but an expression of power and the will to dominate over those who they consider to be vulnerable, be it women belonging to the dalit community, a woman assistant, the one caught in an isolated dim light place etc. Some say its because ours is a society where boys and girls still don’t interact freely with each other and that doesn’t allow them to understand and respect each other. That’s a correct thing to say to an extent but if you see it closely, any gender based violence ultimately comes under the dynamics of ‘power’ play.

We have had that fabulous Verma Commission Report. We now have an amended criminal law with rigorous punishment and recognition of other forms of exploitation. We lack in the coordination between various agencies and also within society to spread the message clearly. We have maximum number of police personnel for VIP security. We need to have working CCTV cameras in police stations to monitor the attitude of police towards women. We need better street lighting. All offices must provide their women employees with a proper cab service. We need faster disposal of cases with higher conviction rates. We need to refrain from commodifying women every now and then. We need an education system that doesn’t simply strive to make our children and youth only employable but also to make them more socially responsible.

We seriously need to cover the stories from remote places too, they matter much more than just megalopolis. We need counselors at the police stations and courts and till the case goes on, availing their services for just few minutes would only be tokenism rather than serving the real purpose. Yes, of course we need to educate our boys better, to make them learn to respect women as women not just as sisters or mothers. We need to grow up as a more informed and mature society. It’s not just about women’s rights but more importantly about human rights. It’s time that we now begin acting and turn ideas into reality.

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