In a country like India, a woman is given a status equal to a Goddess. A woman is called the apex of a household. Unfortunately, though, this land where women are considered as the binding force behind everything is grappling to provide women with something as basic as safety and protection.
Yes, women in our country and especially, in the capital New Delhi, feel unsafe before stepping out of their houses because of the increasing criminal cases against women. Everyday, we come across a new rape case, acid attack case, dowry case, female foeticide and infanticide incident and many other similar atrocities. Who can forget the resentful “Nirbhaya” case in which the girl was brutally gang raped and murdered by 6 men in a moving bus?
Our nation has achieved milestones and the women of our society have progressed at a storming pace in every possible way. However, it is appalling that our country has not been able to provide women with a sense of reliance and safety. Nearly 80% of women in Delhi fear for their safety in the city, says a new survey conducted by the Delhi government’s Women and Child Development Department, NGO Jagori, and the international organisation Unifem.
Another survey gathered and analysed information about the nature and forms of gender-based violence and harassment faced by women, the role of governing agencies and the police in safeguarding women’s rights, and societal perceptions and attitudes towards sexual harassment. The survey revealed some serious and shocking facts. Two out of three women in Delhi have suffered sexual harassment at least two to five times in the last year. Female respondents to a survey expressed a dismal lack of confidence in the police to curb harassment, with only 0.8% reporting such incidents to the authorities.
The main reasons for sexual harassment identified in the survey include lack of gender-friendly and functional infrastructure such as adequate lighting, sidewalks and safe public toilets; open consumption of alcohol and drugs by men; and lack of an effective and visible police presence.
Recently, a case about Necrophilia came into light. Necrophilia means sexual intercourse with or attraction towards corpses. Only for the sexual satisfaction, some lecherous men did something so gruesome that has put the humanity to shame. Two youth dug out the dead body of a 26-year-old woman from the grave who was buried just two days ago. Thereafter, the two sick-minded men had sex with the woman’s dead body. The incident took place in Talheta village of Ghaziabad. This is not the first time and many such cases have been reported earlier.
In India, at least, 5 women are attacked with Acid every week. Countless women have lost their faces and confidence because of becoming a victim of an acid attack.
Another such issue is female foeticide and infanticide. One group estimates, more than 10 million female foetuses may have been illegally aborted in India since the 1990s, and 500,000 girls were being lost annually due to female foeticide. A survey estimates that 100,000 abortions every year continue to be performed in India solely because the foetus is female. The children’s rights group CRY has estimated that of 12 million females born yearly in India 1 million die within their first year of life.
India also tops the list in dowry cases. In 2012, 8,233 dowry death cases were reported across India, while, in 2013, 8,083 dowry deaths were reported. This means a dowry-related crime causes the death of a woman every 90 minutes, or 1.4 deaths per year per 100,000 women in India.
Aren’t we living in a hypocrite society where on one hand, people kneel down and pray before a goddess who is a woman and on the other hand, the count of crimes committed against women just doesn’t seem to end. Women don’t need the stature of a goddess, what they actually need is, respect, empowerment and security. The inhumane incidents of transgressions against women ostensibly show that women are not even considered humans by some people.
Over the years, the government has formulated many laws and amendments regarding crimes against women but still, we have got a long way to go. Women safety is a very portentous issue and we, being responsible citizens of this country, should start taking it more seriously and sensitively.