This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Aditya Raj Sharma. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why We Need To Stop The ‘Hang The Rapist’ Rhetoric

More from Aditya Raj Sharma

I was a school going child when the brutal Nirbhaya rape case happened in Delhi. From TV debates to the discussion at home, I have always heard everyone saying “hang the rapist”.

The ones who raped the woman were not rich brats, neither do they belonged to the family of politicians and hence, they were finally hanged after the multiple attempts by the defence lawyer to save them.

The government on its part too passed a bill in the parliament toughening the laws against sexual harassment, rape, eve-teasing etc., it was indeed an appreciable step but not enough.

8 years later, now I am a postgraduate student of JNU, and in Hathras, a 20-year-old woman has allegedly been gang-raped by four men and there are even reports of her tongue being cut off.

Stopping such incidents of rape needs two sets of reforms; in the first category comes political and administrative reforms and in the second category comes the social reforms. Representational image

In 2012, it was BJP that was on the streets of Delhi and now it is Congress who is flooding the village with its supporters. But two things have remained the same; firstly, women are still being raped and brutally murdered every day. Secondly, the curious set of creatures who sing only one type of tune every time such cases comes into the media light, and the song is “hang the rapist, hang the rapist”.

Today, we will talk about this wonderful set of creatures and why they need to be told that “you are nothing more than privileged and even more than that, an ignorant human being, who either needs to shut up or be a part of a long struggle, rather than just give sweeping statements and then continuing to watch your daily soaps or news channels.”

Stopping such incidents of rape needs two sets of reforms; in the first category comes political and administrative reforms and in the second category comes the social reforms. Both these two sets of reforms affect each other and need a long struggle to be introduced and implemented. Let us talk about each of those reforms in some detail.

The administrative reforms that India needs to curb rape incidents or any other criminal activity include primary police and judicial reforms. Coming to the police reforms, after independence, the leaders of our nation wanted police to be accountable to the elected members so that they won’t turn autocratic in character.

But, the end result was increasing political interference in the working of Indian police, the career of honest officers were destroyed and the corrupt ones promoted to the top.

In the year 1996, the former DGP of Uttar Pradesh, Prakash Singh filed a PIL in Supreme Court asking the court to simply implement the police reforms according to the recommendation of National Police Commission of 1979, the Supreme court in its 2006 judgment (Prakash Singh vs Union of India) came out with a list of police reforms and most of them remain unimplemented in all states, either ruled by our dear Yogiji or by Pinarayi Vijayan.

Thus, police are still under the malicious control of politicians and various actions of our brave Delhi and UP police in recent days are evident to this.

What About Judicial Reforms?

Coming to the judicial reforms, the judiciary of India is overloaded and understaffed. According to some figures, there are about 414 vacancies of judges in the high court and for the district courts, the numbers go as high as 5000 or even more.

Thus bringing us the problem of long litigation and the curious case of undertrial people, interestingly, some of the suspects end up in jail for several years in just simple cases like theft waiting for their case to be heard in courts. The courts especially at district level lack proper infrastructure and the management practices are non-existent.

In the case of social reforms, in most of the places, Indians are still living in medieval dark ages. We don’t need to mention here the enlightened opinion of many citizens of this country, who still think on the cases of rape that “taali ek hath se nahi bajti” (you can’t clap with one hand), and it is not only amongst illiterate people, our so-called educated folks are not far behind in this.

One close friend of mine was shamed by her mother for trying to pursue an independent choice for her career, saying “acche ghar ki ladkiyan zabaan nahi ladati” and her mother is a double MA and a teacher in a government school.

We still lack gender equal spaces and couples are scared to a point that they feel they have committed a crime.

The reader may wonder at the moment why I am talking about this old rhetoric. My objective here is to remind you all especially my “hang the rapist” folks that you are not going to change anything by just sitting in front of the TV and shouting these lines.

It will require a long struggle to change the things from the way they are today. You will have to keep questioning your beliefs and biases you have, have to fight against the systematic patriarchy, casteism and other beliefs that your family has and which it passes on to every coming generation.

You have to ask your leaders why there is no mention of administrative reforms especially the police and judicial reforms in their manifesto and why they are afraid to implement these important reforms.

We cannot expect a person to fear committing a crime if he gets the death penalty at the age of 65  for committing rape at the age of 20. You don’t need to hang the rapist, you just need to instil fear. If you commit a crime, you will be punished at the earliest and cannot escape through loopholes.

Until all of us are ready to fight this long battle for administrative and social reforms and many other battles, rapes will keep happening and we all will stick to our TV sets with the same tune “Hang the rapist”.

You must be to comment.

More from Aditya Raj Sharma

Similar Posts

By Rushalee Goswami

By Aayomi Afreen

By Subhashini Kant

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

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.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

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.

Read more about his campaign.

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.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below