Larger societal response needed to cure rape epidemic
S. Narinder Singh
Crime against women in India has assumed dangerous proportions. Rape is the fastest growing crime in the country. In 2010, a rape occurred every 30 mins. Especially Delhi, the capital of India has emerged as the capital of crimes. It has almost taken shape of an epidemic. Hardly there must be a day when reports about molestation and rapes don’t hit the headlines In Delhi it happens to those unsuspecting women who avail of public transport at night. In Haryana such crimes happen to women to remind their parents that they ought to have been married early. In Kerala, the crime is of more incestuous nature. First of all government need to acknowledge the sheer gravity of the problem. What with umpteen reports surfacing of girl children having been raped by fathers, uncles, brothers, cousins, friends, taxi/bus drivers and teachers, etals, ministers, men in uniform and even doctors who have raped the patients on ventilators? Not only had this, in our country some cases have come up where apart from others, relations indulged in unnatural sex with children under the age of even six months. In 2014, nation was shocked to learn about 32 year old Bhavan ji allegedly raping a 6 month old girl-child in Itoda village near Chanasma in Patna District. What could be gruesome this.
Similarly Swamis, saints/Sadhus who considered themselves as Gurus and religious and spiritual preachers who are running ashrams and considered themselves as representatives of God such as Bapu Asaram and his son Narayan were exploiting the innocent and illiterate masses especially women folk. As per media reports they have committed rapes with the followers and are facing charges in the Court. Moreover, during third week of May 2016, a Sadhu Baba was arrested by UP Police who was involved in raping girls/women selected of his own choice. He used to upload the porn photographs of these ladies after committing the heinous crime and blackmail them. As per electronic media report on 10th June, 2016 a fraud Baba was arrested by the Maharashtra Police from his Kandiwali Ashram where he was exploiting girls and robbed many families on the plea that his black magic can convert the bad luck of the people into good.
Not only this, people are astonished and surprised to know that a retired person from the most important organ of the government i.e. judiciary that too from the highest Court of the country who are supposed to do justice with everyone and punish guilty and who was heading a human right commission had been found allegedly involved in the sexual harassment as per media reports. A woman lawyer (intern), was allegedly sexually harassed by national green tribunal chairman. She further claimed that she was sexually harassed on 20th May 2011, while she was an intern and he was sitting as Supreme Court Judge. The Additional District and Sessions Judge in Gwalior had alleged that she could not save herself from the anger of the High Court judge and had to resign from judicial services to protect her dignity, women hood and self esteem. She was heading the Vishak Committee against sexual harassment. So to say even media persons such as Tehelka editor-in-chief, Tarun Tejpal who did string operation and exposed other malpractices, corruption and evil in the society allegedly did not hesitate to indulge in this crime with so called fellow journalist.
The 16th December 2012, Delhi gang rape of 22 years Damini in a moving bus shall keep us all haunting all the time. Despite unprecedented public protest and anger across the country, nothing seems to have changed. This is evident from the horrible fact of a 5 yr old girl Masoom being brutally raped in April 2013. This brutalised and horrifying rape of a minor girl opened the eyes of humanity as a whole where the rapist inserted bottle and candles in the private part of the innocent girl. This barbaric act of rape has compelled the Indian society to think whether we deserve to be called human beings or animals.
By such inhuman act of the beasts who commit heinous crimes, we stand nowhere even in the category of animals. Brutal rapes of minor girls of the age of 4, 6, 7 and 8 years have become a common phenomenon and in some cases victims have even been murdered and killed. No doubt sex is a natural instinct need for both the genders but this urge develops in a particular age. Doing sex and sexual assaults with this age group do not constitute rape rather unnatural acts. Rape means doing sex against the wishes/consent of either partner. But in the mentioned age group the child is not even aware of the concept of sex. When such acts are performed with them, they must be feeling tortured/harmed and subject to cruelty by barbaric savage and beasts for no fault of these innocents
There has to be a societal response to outrageous acts that has taken the nation by shock and anger. A serious thought is need to be given as how to deal with this type of brutal barbaric insane, savage and beast elements of the society. Such incidents remind us to work collectively to ensure safety, security and status for women. This is not the time to politicalise the issue and words but for action and collective efforts. In view of the prevalent scenario of gruesome sexual assaults, involving victims of all ages, especially minor and children, a mechanism has to be evolved to ensure women safety.
No doubt after Nirbhaya incident, the government moved with speed in strengthening the law to be able to deal with offences against women. However, what actually is needed to be done is strict implementation of these laws by the law enforcing agencies i.e. police and judiciary. Moreover, in the light of the agitations and countrywide protest that have followed the two incidents, also point to the need for concern and sensitivity while dealing with public anxiety. The Criminal Amendment Bill 2013 which was passed by Parliament in the wake Nirbhaya Gang rape that resulted in the death became a law. The new act makes punishment for rape most stringent providing for death for repeated offenders and where the rape reduces the victim to a vegetative state. Women in the country are in danger. They are threatened by a society of lascivious beasts who do not blink an eye before forcing themselves upon the hapless prey.
Even on 27th May 2016 as per electronic media report, a similar case like Nirbhaya was going to happen in Delhi, when three persons in a car on the pretext of dropping the girl and her friend to their destination but after giving them the lift they tried to rape the girl while beating and throwing his friend out of the car. Immediately the boy reported to the nearby Police Station and the police immediately succeeded in arresting all the three culprits and thus avoided another Nirbhaya type rape case.
(To be continued)
If adequate measures are not taken to protect women it would shame the nation. In combating this menace, the government needs to understand that it is not merely a law and order problem. There is social and psychological aspect of the problem as well. To begin with, law against such crimes definitely needs to be made more stringent as to deter potential rapist. No doubt all such laws have been made and fast track Courts have also been set up and judgments are delivered within minimum time i.e. six months in certain cases. Even death sentence have also been awarded to the rapist of Nirbhaya but it has not proved deterrent to sex lunatics. In Lakhanpur district of Assam, a 30 yr. old lady, mother of a six year old child was gang raped and her eyes were taken out so that she could not recognise the culprit and they should not get punished.
Despite new strict laws and deterent punishments no change has taken place rather cases of rapes are being reported from all parts of the country i.e. from Kanyakumari to Kashmir daily. After Nirbhaya case, number of such cases has increased.
With the change of the new law, situation will not change until the police and other authorities like judiciary change their mindset. The law enforcing agencies should not wait for the action till gruesome crimes are highlighted or reported by the media and higher authorities. The convicted should not have the right to appeal especially in the cases of gang rapes. The society has to be gender sensitive. Most importantly crimes against the women cannot be delinked from the longer problems of falling gender ratio of women. Hence, female infanticides are to be treated at par with homicide. One consequence of the female denigration is the terribly skewed sex or gender ratio in less than a decade from now.
Sexual attacks are at an all time rise. India is an unsafe society for all foreign tourists who are given advises to be cautious, as it is internally an unsafe destination especially for women. A 30 yr. old tourist from California was gang raped by a truck driver and his two Nepali friends in village in moving truck and all the three criminals were arrested. Another Japanese girl was drugged and raped by a tourist guide in Jaipur. This incident gave a blow to the tourist Industry. Britian and France revised their tourists’ advisories for India warning visitors about the risk of sexual attacks.
Recently two gang rapes in Kerala took place which again reminded us of Nirbhaya where a nurse student was allegedly gang raped inside the auto rickshaw near state capital Trivanthpuram and another case of a law student Jeesha who was found in a pool of blood in her home, intestines hanging out of a brutally mutilated body again like torture on Nirbhaya’s body. This raises the question about how much women safety has improved since 2012 when even home and public transport remain unsafe zones. Years after Nirbhaya, a terrible reminder that women remain unsafe and police remain callous.
In the wake of rising crime rate against women across the country, yet another remedial measure needs to be given a serious thought by all political parties, social and religious organisations besides civil society activists so that protection for women is ensured at all fronts. In order to prevent more rapes and control crime, we have to push through police reform immediately. In nutshell, there has to be a larger societal-cum-governmental response to treat the cancerous malady, lest it spreads and consumes body physique of the nation. The Govt. has to strictly implement censor rules as too much vulgarity is being shown in the Hindi movies- 3/4th of the body of women is being shown naked/nude. Mass awakening block wise, sex education needs to be imparted from school level.
The Govt. must now take a radically different approach, it should to begin with adequate sufficient resources to police and judicial reforms are perhaps more important than economic reforms and For augmenting police manpower, civil defence, NCC, NSS personnel, SPOs, citizen, wardens, volunteers, and forces should come forward. Such measures would enhance the confidence among women in public places. It would also stop blame game between police and people as volunteer citizens would be an integral part of patrol. Nearly four years have passed since Nirbhaya gang rape but when it comes to the safety of women in public places, the ground reality remains much the same. Shame on the so called humanity? Unless there are reforms Nirbhaya will continue to be raped, tortured and killed. In our country we Indians worship and have faith in Devis like Vaishno Mata, Durga and many others as Shakti – a female form. It has many names and it is strange yet we do not have the social and political will to root out crime against woman.
With Warm Regards.