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Rape, Police And Society: How To Put An End To Rape Culture

More from Ankita Saisha

TW: Rape, Sexual Assault

Whenever we think of a woman (Indian girl/women), the very first question that hits our mind is- Are women safe? ‘

‘Satisfactory conditions and safe environment” have always been missing in a woman’s life in this developing nation. When will this trend of candle marches after a rape victim’s death end? This is still a question! Rape is a term which is enough to bring goosebumps and tears to us humans and a shameful moment of pride and masculine dominance to the rapists, or better, demons. Most of the people around the world think of India as a ‘rape nation’ and its capital Delhi as a ‘rape capital’.

Rape, being the fourth most common crime against women in India, finds its new victim every 16 minute, which means that in every 16 minutes, a woman is raped and another horrifying part of this story is that a lot of these women are murdered brutally after rape. Statistics from NCRB show that in 2018, the daily rape frequency was 91 cases per day with a total of 33,356 registered cases and in 2017, it was 90 rapes on a daily basis with 32,500 registered cases.

Representational image.

According to recent statements from NCRB, Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest crimes against women in 2019. Recent rape cases from different states have spread outrage throughout the country. Women are worried about their own safety and the girls of the next generation! A recent case is from Hathras of UP, where a 19-year-old girl was raped by four men and she succumbed to her injuries in the hospital.

According to the mother of the victim, her spinal cord was fractured and she was found naked with blood all over. There were scratches on her body parts, she was crying …even she was not able to answer her mother about that exhibition of her body. According to some audio/video clips and her mother’s statement, the victim in her last stages told clearly that ‘I was raped’. She got admitted into a hospital and, after two weeks, she died.

The family was even deprived of even holding a funeral. Her last rituals took place late night under police’s control. The brutal behaviour of the UP police towards the victim’s family is again a big question mark. Instead of giving sympathy to the family, the officers were busy in making fun and giving baseless statements. And because of such police, instead of feeling safe, we feel frightened!

Her last rituals took place late night under police’s control.

Behind these cases from rape to the registration of rape case, the police has always failed to fulfil their duty properly. Because when the victim asks police to register her statement, she gets triggered by their vulgar and baseless questions, which leads to a situation where the victim asks the police, ”Will you ask the same if your daughter gets raped?”.

In a majority of the cases, the victim dumps her pain because of her family pressure regarding the family reputation. Some put fingers on their mouth because of the caste system and discrimination and some, due to gender inequality. Some of these victims choose to stay quiet because of a majority of male officials in the police force to the court which makes a rape victim feel uncomfortable. The ratio of men and women in police departments of Indian states has always been unbalanced.

Instead of blaming the rapists, our police and society blame the victim with respect to her sense of dressing, going out at night and some even call them a slut. According to some, rape takes place when women desire to have sex! Instead, the main reason behind rapes and such statements is the insensitivity of the police and administration and of course, ‘this society and our thoughts’!

But with all this, the dirty vote-bank politics keeps playing its chaos, because the government’s reputation is far more important than the justice of the victim. Every time, pictures come out with candle marches, rallies etc. But these pictures miss the punishment of rapists, that is justice. Years pass with the family craving for justice.

These rapes happen because of the lust of those demons who later end up committing heinous crimes like rape. Still, instead of getting those rapists hanged,  you will find people explaining ‘what women should wear and how she should live her life ‘. Sometimes they rape for the purpose of revenge, some time to show their dominant character and caste. But reports and surveys show physical and sexually abusive behaviour towards a boy by his family affects him and this takes them to rape a girl to show the power of their biological and physical structure.

So, to stop this rape culture, we need trustworthy and well-trained police officials and an increase in the presence of enough female officials to deal with rape cases properly. Less acknowledgement and awareness about sex education among the youth is another major issue, so ‘sex education’ should be a necessary chapter to be introduced to students.

Don’t encourage the victim to compromise, instead, act as strong support for her. We all are familiar with the pace of the Indian judiciary system. This delayed justice shows the carelessness of the court and the whole system. Gender inequality affects the number of cases too. Schemes like ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ have failed.  ‘Strict rules and laws and instant action against the accused are more necessary.

Always raise your voice because before being a man, woman or any other gender, we are humans. Our girls have the full right to live a safe life of their own choice.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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