Even after eight years of waiting, eight years of fight for justice and eight years of pending judgment, now that we’ve got justice for Nirbhaya, there is still something missing. Though there is momentary happiness being felt by some people, what we still failed in evading is the patriarchal mindset and misogyny in our society.
While talking to the media after losing the case, Nirbhaya’s convicts’ lawyer AP Singh questioned Nirbhaya’s character and said that “one should also ask her mother as to why was she out for so late and with whom?” With Singh’s statement, we can analyze how our society’s mind still takes women and their freedom.
In November last year (2019), a 26-year-old veterinary doctor was gang-raped and then murdered in which four suspects were arrested and later, encountered. She left her house to attend her appointment at one hospital at around 5:30 p.m. and at 9:44 p.m. of the same day, her phone was found switched off.
In July 2019, a 3-year-old girl was abducted from a railway station, gang-raped and then beheaded.
In January 2018, an 8-year-old girl was abducted, raped and murdered near Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir. Her father complained to the police station on 12th January stating that his daughter had gone missing. As per his complaint, she had gone to watch over grazing horses.
With the above mentioned three incidents( 26 years, 8 year and 3 years) of rape and murder, we can see how the time and age of a woman does matter for a person to rape her, what only matters is ‘seeing her as a tool to fulfil their lust’. The woman is seen and taken only as an object. And every time, it is made to be a woman’s fault. If she is raped, it is not a man’s fault and there is no problem in his gaze; the complete responsibility lies only on a woman, her gesture, her clothes and also, the timing of her being out.
Even our politicians endorse the fault of a woman. Mulayam Singh Yadav, founder of Samajwadi Party and former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, in 2014 while opposing capital punishment for rape said: “boys will be boys…they commit mistakes.” In this statement, he expressed that women are responsible for rape, saying “First girls develop a friendship with boys. Then when differences occur, they level rape charges. Boys commit mistakes. Will they be hanged for rape?”.
Some politicians have also cited scriptures in the religiously modulated mode of victim-blaming. For instance, Kailash Vijayvargiya, National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party, cited the story of Ram’s wife Sita and her abduction by Ravana from the Hindu epic Ramayana to implicate Nirbhaya, the victim of 2012 Delhi gang rape, in her assault. He stated, “There is only one phrase for this and that is the moral limit, there is Lakshman-Rekha for every person, when that is crossed by them the demon-king Ravana will abduct Sita. One has to abide by certain moral limits. If you cross this limit you deserve to be punished. Just like Sita was abducted by Ravana”. There are unlimited instances and statements where influential people can be seen reflecting their misogyny and patriarchal psyche and judgments.
It is imperative that we get rid of this psyche and start acknowledging and respecting women’s desires, passions and freedom. Otherwise, such incidents will never stop, and there will be more Nirbhayas.