It was the fateful night of December 16, 2012, when group of men beat, gang-raped and tortured a 23-year-old woman in a bus in the national capital. The incident triggered the kind of anger and outrage that was never seen before in a rape case. Thousands of youth marched towards Rashtrapati Bhavan to demand justice for Jyoti Singh Pandey, and the government was forced to amend our laws to prosecute the sex offenders. The anger generated by that incident kindled a new hope that this country has finally woken up to the bitter reality of injustices committed against women and no other young girl or woman would have to suffer the same way.
Six years down the line, the government has changed, laws have changed but what hasn’t changed is the pitiful condition of women in this country. An 8-year-old girl became the object of violence at the hands of some policemen and thugs who gang-raped and brutally killed her. And if that wasn’t enough, some lawyers along with two BJP ministers jumped to the fore to paint this incident in communal colours and gain political leverage out of the murder of an innocent.
The incident has again sparked off a massive outrage across different social media platforms, and netizens have openly spoken out against the inaction on the part of authorities. But do we really have the moral high ground to question them? What have we done to change the status quo after the 2012 incident? Have we addressed our prejudices? Instead of worrying about the safety of our daughters, have we started caring about our sons’ actions? Or are we even ready to do that?
And as far as politicians are concerned, tables have turned, the same people who once vociferously protested the 2012 gang rape are now in power, and it has taken days of outrage on the part of common people for them to speak up finally. The fear of losing out on votes has gripped their mind and has soaked up every bit of humanity from their hearts, as they act as mute spectators to this act of brutality. All they have to offer is mere condolence and condemnation. They must not hold back from criticising the culprits and back their words with action that should create horror in the minds of all rapists.
It’s time for us to look within us instead of looking outside for the solution, change our misogynist mindsets and back it with action to bring about a change in the lives of women. That would be a real justice for her.
If you are a survivor, parent or guardian who wants to seek help for child sexual abuse, or know someone who might, you can dial 1098 for CHILDLINE (a 24-hour national helpline) or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.