A casual chitchat over a cup of coffee with my friend advanced towards marriage and children. She very firmly said, “You know whenever I plan to have a baby, I will prefer a boy.” Within fraction of seconds, thoughts like, “What is wrong with her”, “Being a girl herself, how could she say this” and “She has a contemporary way of thinking, then why”, crossed my mind. Before I could utter my shock at her words, she continued, “Only because the world out there is not safe for her. I will be constantly worried about her security and may not give her the liberty to live her life to the fullest.”
Whenever I am out of my home in the evenings and the clock strikes 8:30 pm, my phone flashes “Papa calling”. The phone rings after every 10-15 minutes until I reach home. He is absolutely against me travelling alone after 9 pm. Sometimes when I head towards home post the deadline, I hear only two stern words, “kaha ho” and he bangs the phone down after my reply. I am anxious on my way and anticipate the worst scolding of my life. To my surprise, his frown disappears as soon as he sees me. My mum on the other hand never rings me continuously (she knows it irritates me). However, she is the one who is glaring at me when I reach home. It took me a while to understand it is not me that they mistrust but it is this society, especially the lecherous men.
It is the sad truth that every woman in this country faces eve teasing in her growing up years. It is in the form of casual whistling, lewd remarks or unwarranted touch in a crowded bus. I remember I used to walk to my college, as it was just a kilometer away. In that 10-12 minutes of daily walk on a busy main road for three years, I have experienced men ogling at me and walking behind me uselessly.
A woman gang raped on bus in front of daughter after attackers kill her newborn son (Shishgarh in Uttar Pradesh); Mother kills her two minor daughters suspecting father sexually abused them (Hyderabad); 18-Year-Old Records Video To Prove Rape By Father (Jalaun district of Uttar Pradesh); Girl, 15, raped and set on fire (NCR) are the few horrific incidents that occurred last month in India. If these headlines hit the papers on a daily basis, then the world is indeed not safe for current or future daughters. My mom and dad have reasonable grounds to wear that glare and frown respectively, don’t they? Our Parents always say, “You will understand only when you have your children.” Maybe, my friend feels that already. She wants to raise her baby girl in the world that will grace that child with respect and dignity.
National Crime Records Bureau of India reported 36735 incidents of rape in its crime report of 2014*. This implies an outrageous number of about 100 rape cases per day. As per the data, close to 90% of the rape convicts knew the victims (relatives, neighbors, employers etc). God knows where these numbers will reach if the cases that were never registered were to be included.
I used to stay in Munirka when the appalling Nirbhaya rape case happened. It disturbs me immensely that while I was busy watching TV, an incident like such took place in the outskirts of my colony. No woman should ever go through such excruciating pain. Peace marches to India Gate and lightening candles as protest may expedite the entire judicial process but it does nothing to cleanse the hideous mindsets. Something is definitely wrong at a grass root level of our country. I think this mentality plagues from those times where men used to consider women as mere sex objects. And it still prevails in some households of India.
The punishment for rape offenders must be such that it instills horror for any man ever thinking to commit a rape. Our nation needs to stop breeding such barbaric minds. How o how, is the big question? Should judicial system allow us to pelt stones at the rape convicts to channelize our anger? Should there be public hanging? Should there be castration, more so for pedophiles? Though, I am not sure if any of these steps would eradicate rape completely from our society. Sexual assault is a mental sickness that requires cure. Is it the education system that needs reformation or is it the parenting that needs correction? Many states of USA, Poland, UK, Germany, South Korea have already accepted castration as an alternative punishment for rape offenders, majorly on voluntarily basis though. Is it not high time for India to adopt the same?
All of us feel the pain caused by these disturbing instances. I hope we can together find answers for this unresolved issue and make this world a liveable place for the daughters not born yet. Let me end by sharing one of my verses for you to reflect on:
Yes it is her fault
She is born for assault
She is bred by her family with care
for you men to ogle and stare
Oh she didn’t wear something that covers her knee
so you have the right to celebrate and glee
Its the dead of night and she is out with a boy
You get the liberty to use her as a toy
Its your horrid mind you coward
that planks your heinous act forward
Dare not touch her without the consent
because that’s how it is rightfully meant
But of course it is her fault
She is a Woman, born for assault!!!
*http://www.ncrb.gov.in/ (2015 data has not been made public yet)
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