Trigger Warning: mention of rape
Every day, horrendous news of rape, assault and violence against women makes us furious, anguished and enraged. It makes us question humanity, the law, government, security forces, and the whole existence of mankind. Because why not? What’s in it for the 49% of the country’s population who identify as women?
A lifetime of fear and suppression? Why do we have to fight for a basic right like the right to safety? The successful veterinarian from Hyderabad, who was mercilessly gang-raped and murdered, did not deserve such a horrific fate. Or the minor girl in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, who did not even get a chance to see the world from her own eyes, her life was snatched away by her sinners, not once, not twice, but thrice!
However, these are the cases which have been reported and covered by the media. We cannot even begin to imagine the life stories of endless such girls whose tragedies remain unreported or untold. Rape happens every half an hour in this nation but the authorities, who swear to take care of its people, sadly still stand unshaken.
It’s unbelievable how they have turned a blind eye towards the pain and suffering of the victims and their families whose daughters have been raped and murdered mercilessly. Forget taking action, some still remain mum about the ongoing situation of the country, believing that the outcry would eventually fade with time. So what do we need now? More encounters? Hell no! The things that add on to the present atrocities apart from the extremely slow-paced judicial system of the nation, is the stigmatisation of rape survivors with their clothing, actions, and anything that justifies rape other than the rapist.
A 22-year-old woman conducted a survey in Tihar Jail, where she interviewed 100 men to know what really runs inside the head of such people who become capable of committing such horrendous crime. To her shock, she found out that many of them were not even ready to accept that they committed ‘rape’ because they don’t even know the meaning of consent. If the problem is so deeply stricken in our society, that any man who is convicted for rape thinks it’s absolutely okay to do it, would ‘only’ stricter laws help in changing their mind?
Would it help in cleaning up the social system leading to a utopian world where women can walk freely outside their homes without the fear of being teased, molested or raped? The answer to the above question is no! Stricter laws would only instill fear in a person’s mind to some extent but not change the idea behind the happening of such crimes. However, the answer to several other things was also a ‘no’ a few years back, when they all appeared nothing but a distant dream. For instance, the dream of a clean nation.
It wasn’t until every radio channel, advertisement, banner and speech talked about the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan that we gained consciousness of the importance of keeping our country clean. Cleanliness had become the top priority of every government whose leaders actively spoke about it. Whether it was in cities or villages, the slogan of Swachh Bharat echoed everywhere to the extent that now, any man who throws garbage on the road is looked down upon as being ignorant.
Now, if we look at the current situation of India, where the number of crimes and the extent of cruelty against women is on a constant rise, what if that same voice declares a national emergency and tells its people to clean their minds now? Isn’t it time that after Swachh Bharat, the nation should go on its revolutionary path towards a Surakshit Bharat (Safe India)?