India Has Repeatedly Let Down Its Women

The last couple of months have been emotionally tiring for me. The country has witnessed several incidents which have made us angry and outraged. In Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir, an eight-year-old was abducted, raped repeatedly by several men for a continuous period of eight days and murdered in the most brutal way possible. What was more outrageous was when several people, including men in power, rallied demanding for the release of the rapists, justifying the horrific brutality in the name of religion.

Humanity has now learned to stoop to a different low. In Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, a girl just about my age was raped by a politician and the helpless father who was trying to get justice for his daughter was beaten to death. These instances have shocked all of us. When these series of incidents came to the media frontline, I felt helpless at first. The fact that I need to survive in this country as a woman terrified me. Hours later, a sudden jolt of rage and anger gushed through my blood. Being a woman and surviving each day is not easy in this country. Each moment feels like a battle, less with the world and more with your own fear. The very minute you step out of the house, sit in that auto with four other men, walk down the dark alley, the fear and helplessness that beats against your heart are what we survive with, each day.

Dear fellow countrymen, this is how you have let down every woman. This is what you make every woman go through at every instance. Then, what you show is sheer hypocrisy. In Kolkata, a bunch of elderly men manhandled and beat up a young couple who were hugging in a metro. Where are we exactly living? Where you are punished for loving and glorified for killing?! This is so much more than the question of privacy. I can vouch for it that the ordinary passerby just forgets to react when a woman is faced with sleazy comments and so-called ‘casual’ harassment on streets or eve teasing but pounces upon two adult people who are consensually in a relationship.

The country has been taken by storm after the Kathua and Unnao outrage. Every city has witnessed numerous rallies and candle marches to ask for justice. But what result did it bear? Since then till today, did a single day pass when a woman was not raped in some corner of this country, hundred or maybe thousand other women did not face uncomfortable remarks about their choice of clothing, or eve-teased in some isolated lane, or uncomfortably touched in some public transport? Every woman in this country can vouch that they have faced it and they walk out of their homes with that fear every day. Dear women, you are so much more than you think of yourself. You are strong and resilient, winning every battle at every moment. Dear India, where have we come? 70 years into independence and how you have let down your women!

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