This Country Is Unsafe For Women

Where does it all end? When will the Indian woman be safe in her own country? Not in this lifetime I’m sure. Facts and figures reveal a gruesome yet true story. The three fastest growing crimes in India are rape, murder and molestation. Out of these, two are particularly directed against women. Consider this :

· A senior BSP leader and two others have been accused for sexually exploiting a 17-year-old girl. She has also accused them of taking her nude photographs and preparing a CD of her.

· A 17-year-old girl was raped by police constable inside a police chowky at Marine Drive.

· A 14-year-old student of a government school in Tilak Marg has accused her 17-year-old “friend” of rape. The boy had taken her to a friend’s house on February 14.

· Seven teachers of a primary Teachers Training College (PTC) raped a dalit girl, who was a student of the college. The girl revealed that some other girls, too, have been victimized and raped by the teachers.

Rape cases in India have jumped nearly 700 per cent since1971. What were seven cases per day at that time have now rocketed up to fifty-three cases per day. Over 75 per cent of rapists are known to the victims and nearly 10 per cent are relatives. Minors, most of them being under ten years old, constitute one-third of the total number of sufferers. On an average, a woman is abused every half hour.

Women continue to be exploited by the lecherous men of this country. Despite their anguished pleas, they are trodden upon and brutally disregarded. For men, they are nothing more than an object of pleasure, something to play with and scorn at, and then discard like a used condom.

The mental and emotional trauma of the victim is endless. She feels worthless and loses all self respect. Some victims, not able to handle the pain and suffering, have even ended their lives. At times, the offender proposes marriage to the woman he has raped. How exactly can he think that the woman whose modesty he has outraged will accept him as her husband, her life partner? After all, nuptial alliance is not just something physical, and certainly not a forced bond, is it? It involves love, respect and faith, which, after the heinous act committed by the man, cannot be re-established. However, some do accept this offer, or rather are forced to do so, because of fear of social stigma.

The society frowns upon these victims of someone else’s atrocious behavior. They lose respect within their own people, and are regarded as women of loose character. They get apathy, instead of sympathy and empathy. So much so, that when the victim goes to the courts for the hearing of their case, her family stands like the underdog while the culprit and his family behave like lions proud of their kill.

The worst of all are those people who blame the woman for “indecent behavior” such as wearing skimpy clothes or going out late at night. I ask them, are women in burkhas and salwar-kameez not eve-teased, raped or molested? Are women not groped in broad daylight? These people should try to understand the impact of their statement on the one ill-treated. They are making the victims feel guilty of being robbed off their modesty. Had the same thing happened with one of their own kin, would they have made the same statement?

The conviction rate is low, completely contrary to the rate at which crimes against women are rising. Only 20 per cent of the rape accused ever get convicted. In almost 70 per cent of the cases, the victim backtracked on her statement fearing embarrassment and humiliation. The accused is let off, usually after an out-of-court settlement and feels no remorse whatsoever of his monstrous deed. The one bearing the brunt of all this is the victim herself, having been scarred for life. I personally feel that the best punishment for these ill-minds is to castrate them, and make them go under sex-change operations, so that they too live in fear of being raped.

Shalini Rajvanshi

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