A quick glance at the news spectrum gives a sorry picture of the state of women in this country. The fairer sex which constitutes more than a majority in the population are being handed out an unfair deal — so much for the concept of democracy.
From the Guwahati molestation where a 50-strong drunk mob literally raped a teen in full media glare to the remote village in UP where a woman was force-fed alcohol and gang-raped by policemen in a police station, safety and dignity of women is virtually non-existent.
When it comes to glorification of women in culture and philosophy, no one can beat us. From goddesses to warrior princesses, women have been worshipped in one way or the other. Religious texts to literature, pages extolling women’s virtues are countless. However, nothing guarantees the safety of women in the street.
Dowry-related harassment is a major cause of harassment against women. Though outlawed, the practice is rampant across the country; and contrary to expectation, education, social status or urbanity does not deter this social evil.
If a man has even a grain of self-respect he wouldn’t ask for dowry. A demand for dowry is an open proclamation that “for all my machismo, I am an incapable loser who can’t provide for my better half and I am desperately dependent on the charity handouts of my in-laws”.
A majority of dowry-related cases go unreported due to fear of social stigma, threat of violence or pressure from families, the few that are reported are gory and appalling enough to question one’s belief in humanity.
Sexual violence against women is a different ballgame altogether. Though myriad laws are in existense to safeguard the safety of women, and to provide justice to victims, few translate into real support.
The people and institutions who are supposed to enforce these laws are themselves supporters of sexually charged animals who prey on women with impunity.
The frequent statements from top police officials, ministers, clerics, and, in the latest case, from a member of National Commission for Women, put the victims’ moral credentials under scrutiny. Those who bark that it is the dress of the woman that ‘provokes’ sexual assault must remember that miniskirts don’t get women raped in most cases.
The ‘moral police’ who patrol the streets to ward off ‘corrupting’ Western influences such as Valentine’s Day is nowhere to be seen or heard when the women are torn to bits by savages across the country. Their silence, combined with the ‘endorsement’ from the powerful, encourage the sexual predators.
Sexual crimes do not deserve any mercy. For all the psychological and social reasons that may be lined up, it is the lack of fear of punishment that powers these beasts.
I personally favour physical castration as the most potent punishment for sexual crimes. The criminals, rendered incapable of similar crimes, must be incarcerated for life with hard labour. Hurt them where is hurts, and results will naturally show in statistics.
Barely a month back, an international study had ranked India as one of the worst places to be a woman — only next to Saudi Arabia. Something is fundamentally flawed with our system if we are in the same bracket with primitive societies where rape victims are executed on charges of adultery.
We don’t need Obama, but change we definitely need.
About the Author (Author Profile)
My interests lie in current affairs, social issues and political analysis. A strong believer of independent thinking and healthy scepticism.