In India, whenever a rape gets reported, political leaders make matters worse instead of finding solutions or helping to rehabilitate the survivor.
The media then runs stories about the rape day and day out in order for some kind of action to be taken – or if not that, then to gain TRP. The way the media reports rapes also influences the people of the country. They become furious – so much so that they would probably take matters into their own hands if they were to find the perpetrator. According to some people, this is a ‘righteous’ way of delivering justice. Then time passes and people forget about the issue and get back to their routine, thus letting things be just as they were.
If we continue with this same attitude towards the problems of our country, the day won’t be far when India will be in a state of war with its own people. The problem is that the people who preach so much about culture and tradition themselves turn out to be corrupt and criminals. People are not at all afraid to do anything that may help them get rich.
According to a report by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 90% of India’s rapes were committed by people known to the survivor. This means that people think they could get away with rape without having to face any consequences.
Madhumita Pandey, who has interviewed over 100 rape convicts, found that the people who commit rapes are not extraordinary men but ordinary people who have been brought up in such a way as to think of women as nothing more than possessions. In fact, according to her, the people who commit rapes don’t even know how big a crime they are committing. They don’t realise they may be ruining someone’s life.
Let us not talk about the Nirbhaya case. But we might recall the Kathua gang rape and murder case which shook the nation and took the media by storm. It was highly politicised and it compelled people to protest, change WhatsApp profile pictures and condemn the act by writing long posts on social media with hashtags.
But only within three to four days after this incident, similar rapes were reported in Gujarat, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh consecutively. The government, under pressure, made an amendment to the POCSO Act thereby entitling capital punishment to anyone who rapes and murders a girl under the age of 12 years.
Although the measure taken by the government was commendable, it also raises a question as to the security of those girls who are unfortunately not below 12 years of age. For them, the conditions remain unchanged – there is no fear of punishment in the minds of monstrous men. Also, what happens to rape survivors whose parents feel ashamed of their innocent daughter due to social stigma? Society finds some excuse to blame the girl who is already going through mental and emotional anguish.
A good change that has happened is that the reporting of rape cases has increased since the time of Nirbhaya but our society still ceases to broaden its mindset. Sex is still a taboo in our country, there is no provision for sex education, people will willingly have sex in the privacy of their premises but they refuse to talk about it openly.
And until people question their own mindset and broaden the horizon of their thinking, rapes will continue to happen. People will keep marching with candles in their hands and hopes in their hearts like those wanderers who neither have a place to settle nor a destination to reach. And their protests may indeed put pressure on the government and police departments but this will not be a long-term solution.
Changing one’s WhatsApp profile picture is fine but what we need to make sure is that when women see themselves in the mirror, they do not have to see fear in their own eyes.