The Nirbhaya incident in 2012 was followed by spontaneous nation-wide (also world-wide) protests, candle light marches, rallies and meetings etc. After this, many were under the impression that rape will come to a sudden halt all over India. Sadly, the opposite is happening.
Today no place seems to be safe for women. Shockingly, there have been incidents of rape that have occurred in a family/home environment involving a father, brother or relative. Girl children are worried about their safety within their own homes. Home-maker women are worried about their safety when they are at home. Likewise, working women are worried about their safety at their workplaces. School/College/University girl students are worried about their safety within their campus. The resident girl children of Children’s Homes are worried about their safety within their places of residence. Female patients are worried about their safety within a hospital. Women travellers are worried about their safety in a travel environment. Women devotees are worried about their safety in an ashram environment. Women religious are worried about their safety within their own convents/congregations. Why? Because rape occurs anywhere and everywhere. Any woman can become the victim. No place, including Sacro-sanctum, seems to be safe.
Day-in and day-out, women of all ages (6-month baby to 60-year-old) are being targeted by sexually-perverted men. What is wrong with our society? Certain major loopholes need to be pointed out here:
• Wife-beating (for various reasons) – Male children get wrong inspiration from such incidents.
• Disintegrated/Broken families – Children are deprived of parental love and guidance.
• Lack of Sex Education in schools – It paves way for boys to have unhealthy relationship with the opposite sex.
• Male-dominated culture, rules, laws and systems crush the voices of women.
• Caste system in which the upper caste communities continue to harass the low caste communities. The easy preys are low caste women.
• Fast-spreading and easily accessible ‘Porn Culture’ - Many young boys and men get addicted to it. They look for someone to experiment.
• Certain social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter etc. have become tools to prey for vulnerable victims like women.
• Police is found to be ineffective when it comes to rape incidents. Sadly, the victims are harassed to a great extent.
• Weak judiciary system often fails to punish the culprits. Undue delay has become normal. Delayed justice is denied justice is the bitter reality.
• The law-makers are insensitive to the burning issue like rape. Amid nationwide outrage over crimes against women in December 2019, a minister in the Uttar Pradesh government had said, "Not even Lord Ram could assure complete security to people”.
“Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao” is the pet slogan of a Prime Minister who abandoned his wife soon after his marriage and who does not have any biological child of his own. Hence, till today he has not understood the meaning of this slogan. Neither he nor his government has ensured the safety of women in India. As a consequence, women of all ages become easy victims of rape. The pet slogan of the Prime Minister has become utterly “meaningless and empty words” today.
Asha Devi, mother of the 2012 Delhi gang-rape victim, said, “Such brutal incidents of rape has become an everyday affair in India, but the elected representatives do not want to discuss it. News channels will show these things for the next two days and politicians will give some token comments”. She questioned, “What after that? Are these incidents going to stop? Has punishment for such crimes been made stricter? No. How long will women in India fight for their own safety?”
The cops burnt not only Manisha’s body but India’s soul. It is time for all responsible citizens to understand the gravity of the situation as rapes are ruining the image of India. Shall we not dream of a ‘Rape-free India’? Arise, awake and stop not till this dream is fulfilled.