“Streeyascha apurusha margam sarva alankar bhushitha
Nirbhaya pratipadhyante yada rakshiti bhumipa.”
– Bhagavad Gita
We see, we narrate, we share, we exclaim, we talk and then we forget.
Do we take a step to stop it?
I read about many incidents of rape every day. And I always ask these question to myself: “When will India be a rape-free country? Will things change? Will a girl be safe and free from the demons wanting to eat her?” I am sure that even you want to see India as a rape-free country.
However, more frequently than not, toddlers, girls, women and old ladies are raped. They are raped both by people known to them or those who may be complete strangers. They are raped within their houses, on the streets or in front of the creator (that is, in places of worship). This shows an absolute lack of humanity in today’s society.
The fourth most common crime in India is rape. In 2013, it was found that a rape occurs every 20 minutes in India, according to the NCRB stats. This fact probably stands true for cases that are reported. What about the cases which are not reported?
The graph of crime rates in India shows an ever-rising trend. According to a recent report, the number of rape cases per lakh population in India has risen to 243 from 240. According to me, there may be a possibility that the crime rates haven’t increased drastically, but more and more cases are being reported (something which used to be avoided earlier for fear of social stigma). However, we are also living in a country where using the word ‘rape’ offends many. If we can’t face this reality, how will we fight?
Rape is a punishable offence under Section 375 of the IPC. Rape, according to me, is just an action to show how weak a woman is. The last thing a man can do is rape her – and often due to the fear of social stigma and losing reputation, women are forced to be quiet. This silence often gives men the ‘superpower’ of doing the act without any interruption. Some men even take revenge through this inhuman act.
Not only does rape cause physical damage, it also causes mental damage – and sometimes, it even takes the life of the victim. There are very few people who can deal with this situation with a strong heart. After a rape incident, the victim is often blamed. Are they really to blame here?
There are always people saying “chote chote kapde pehnegi toh aisa hi hoga’’, “ab ladko ke saath ghumegi toh aisa hi hoga” and “der raat ghumegi toh aisa hi hoga.” Do these factors really matter? What does a 7-month-old girl know about dresses and the difference between men and female? Can a 7-month-old girl go out at night alone?
In many such cases, after the incident, the survivor is interviewed and given sympathy. She is asked about the incident, her feelings and how she overcame everything – which are all good. But when will the accused be brought in front of everyone? When will we question them? Some rapists turn out to be extra cruel and inhuman – they rape the victim and even kill them.
However, women are not objects to be used and thrown away, are they? Women are created in the same way men are. They are not created to endlessly tolerate, bear torture and eventually die. The victims should not be blamed; instead, the accused or the rapist should be given a severe punishment.
A 2017 report by the Global Peace Index had claimed that India was the fourth most dangerous country for women travellers. The Gender Vulnerability Index 2017, compiled by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, found Bihar, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand to be the least safe regions for women and children in India.
Why is it that the women have to face all the restrictions? Why can’t men understand their responsibilities? Raping a women does not prove the masculinity of a man, right? Yet, women have been raped for ages. And, in my opinion, the roots of this malice can be understood in just one sentence – “Men are more powerful than women.” Where is the equality in this case? There’s been age-old struggle in India to dominate and suppress the members of a particular gender. And this struggle has led to destruction of our country.
Being in the 21st century, one would expect things to be different, right?
It’s to be noted here that men are also being raped. Lesser cases are reported, yes – but there are also men who have been raped. In this context, it’s important for the law to realise this reality. After all, a crime is a crime – and those found guilty must be punished. No laws address the issue of men being raped, because the law defines rape as an act that can be only done by a man on a woman. In this case, men need justice and this has to stop.
To speak of some other related issues, sex workers have a significant chance of being sexually offended. As they are sex workers, it doesn’t mean that they have a tag which says, “I am available anytime and anywhere.” Consent is required to indulge in any sexual act.
Prostitutes also usually don’t get the justice they wish for. Same is the case with marital rape. The Indian law doesn’t recognise marital rape because it considers marriage to be a contract between a man and a woman, thus implying a physical union through coitus. But, there are cases of people being raped after their marriage. The law should therefore accept marital rape as a reality, because any form of physical union without the consent of any one of the individuals involved is wrong.
On the other side, there are also a few women who think that wives being beaten by husbands is not a crime. Here, there is a lack of knowledge. Schools and colleges are not just for scoring high marks and helping you get jobs; they should also teach you about what’s wrong and right. They should inform you of your rights so you can fight for justice, whenever needed.
According to me, only education can change people’s mindset and reduce crime rates. An act like marital rape is illegal in several countries abroad. When will India take the first step, in this regard?
Steps should be taken to stop the malice of rape in India. The roots of this evil need to be cut off. Our country does not require its citizens to give sympathy to each other and be quiet; it needs them to fight back. Every citizen should realize their responsibility and contribute their bit in stopping this.
There are people who have raised their voices against this grievous crime – and we should appreciate their efforts. After every reported incident of rape, news channels, social media, newspapers keep on talking and posting about the incident. This continues for only three or four days in most cases. They talk about justice. There are debates – citizens show their anger – and then, it all stops! No one fights till the end no one waits.
Can this make India a rape-free country? We should all unite and come forward and help our nation be rape-free. It’s not easy, but it is not impossible. Let the culpable party be scared of committing the crime, not the victim.
I hope for a change! #RapeFreeIndia.
“Hathon me candle leke chup chap aage badhne se kuch nhi badal sakta.
Dil me aag leke aage ladne ki chah rakhne se log bhi badal jaenge – aur desh bhi.”
(“Nothing will change by holding candles in our hands and keeping mum.
The people and the country will only change if the citizens express their will to fight – with fire in their hearts.”)
Featured image used for representative purposes only.