Safety of women have always been a concern in independent India. Despite being declared as equal to men, women have been facing many disadvantages and exploitation in numerous fields. Even leaving the house after a certain time limit makes women vulnerable to vulture eyes. In recent times the number of news articles about rape, molestation and sexual assaults have increased in media mouthpieces. Are the crimes increasing or are more incidents getting reported? Is the increase of crimes caused by the influence of western culture? Or is our own culture to be blamed somehow?
Horror of living in this society
The nightmare begins with going to schools or workplaces in public transport services. A rush is natural. But for many ladies it is accompanied with intentional groping. After reaching school some girls suffer bad experiences from their teachers. In workplaces it comes from coworkers. Then they have a certain time limit to get back to their house. Failing which they get scolded or reprimanded regarding their own safety. The length of clothes determine the character of a girl. One of the most horrible facts is that even in houses some women are subjected to domestic violence and marital rape. Social media is another place where unwanted messages reach uninterested women. Cyber stalking can be very disturbing and scary.
Solution to this menace
Keeping someone in jail for their own safety is not the solution. Another suggestion supported by a majority of people are stricter laws. Death penalty (capital punishment) is still practiced in many nations including India. The reason for people to support gross human rights violation is a denial of justice in many cases. Even justice delayed is justice denied. But can the judicial process be made faster? It can be but it may produce catastrophic results. In a large number of cases the person first questioned by the police will be innocent. Instant or mob justice will question the law and order situation of the nation.
Delhi Commission for Women published a report in 2014 describing 53% of rapes reported in the city the previous year as “false”. Many of them are given to destroy the lives of ex-boyfriends. At least several years are needed to prove the innocence of someone. But by that time they would be hanged if death penalty and fast track courts are used.
Blaming pornography for rapes are also a childish argument. Reports suggest that there is no significant evidence to prove that sexually aggressive behavior can be caused by pornographic elements.
Even short clothes are not responsible for crimes against women. Newborn babies and eighty years old women are getting raped. So the thought of shorter clothes provoking men and causing crimes is also unacceptable.
Will stricter punishment mold people into good citizens? Can the prescribed Sharia laws in Saudi Arabia be the solution for women safety? To understand these questions people should remember that press freedom is very poor in Saudi. The majority of the harassment comes from relatives, so the victim doesn’t report it out of fear. Complex aspects of Sharia laws would turn a rape case to prostitution which will cause more trouble for the victim. Blood money is the financial compensation in Saudi paid to the victim or heirs of a victim in the cases of murder, bodily harm, or property damage. It applies when the victim’s family wants to compromise with the guilty party. So implementing such laws will lead to settlement in many cases.
Another point is that the fear of the death penalty won’t reduce crimes. It leads to the murder of a rape victim and attempts to destroy evidence. In the current situation, the majority of rape victims are alive as the rapists believe that either they won’t face many years of prison or the victim won’t contact the police. If death is definite for them then the survival of the victim is impossible. India has hanged many terrorists. Did terrorism or terrorist acts reduce after sentencing some people to death? In this case some of them are even considered as martyrs or heroes by a section of society.
The final and the most adequate solution is reformation of society through the education sector. Education is not only conventional theory classrooms. More investment should be done in moral education and sex education. Equality must be taught from the beginning. Sexist statements such as “boys should not cry”, “beautiful girls and strong boys” should be avoided. The sexualisation of women’s body should be reduced. In India, movies have contributed a lot of negative elements to this society. Vulgar dialogues given by actors and item songs have done enough damage. Words like maal, item, bomb have been normalized to an extent that girls don’t react when someone uses it against them. Banning or censoring is not the right way to do something. Reformation of this society should begin from home.
Justice must be ensured. But it should not be used for revenge. To everyone crying for blood please keep in mind that “An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind”.