TW: Rape, sexual assault.
Hello readers, I hope you’re all having a good day. But, is it really a good day? Do you feel safe? Because most women in our country do not. Another horrible incident came forward in which a 19-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly raped by four upper-caste men in Hathras on September 14.
These men belong to the so-called ‘upper-caste’ group and maybe that was why they thought that it was ok to drag a girl into the middle of a field, allegedly raped her brutally, and then try to strangulate her to death, as she belonged to the so-called ‘lower-caste’.
Now I’m not trying to make this issue only about caste discrimination, but the accused of the crime had reportedly been involved with troubling the Dalit people in the village.
The victim was admitted in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital with her tongue cut off and her spinal cord fatally injured. She gave her official statement to the Police on September 23 and the men were arrested immediately. It sounds good that they were arrested immediately right? But is this enough? Enough to make women feel secure when they go out alone at night? Well, it’s NOT!
The victim fought for her life and lost as the men were probably sitting with their lawyers and planning how to get out and stay out of jail.
Rape is reported to be the 4th most common crime against women in India. In 2017 32,500 rape cases were recorded and the number rose to 4,05,861 cases in 2019. Incidents of rape have increased by a staggering 792% in the past 40 years. And these cases are the ones that have been reported to the police. We can only imagine the actual number.
According to the NCRB data, more than 9o% of rapes are committed by persons known to the survivor/victim.
It happens on the street, in cars, in schools, in parks, in allies and even in homes. Where are women supposed to feel secure if not in their very own houses? The rapist has no regard for age as infant girls are raped brutally and murdered. So the question remains, have we learnt nothing from past cases?
What can we do about it? We need to empower women. We don’t have to protect them, we just have to believe in them and make them believe that they are more than capable of protecting themselves and that we as their brothers, husbands, fathers, friends, and boyfriends are there for them.
I feel that basic training in martial arts and self-defence and encouraging women to speak about what they are going through you are two of many such steps that can be taken to empower women. Candle marches and tweets are good but not enough, we as citizens need to be doing more. The first step should be teaching our boys to respect women, to make them understand that they are not superior to women and that men don’t have any right over women so that when they grow up they understand that NO means NO and when someone says so, YOU STOP!