Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Nirbhaya… And Us!

It has been a year since we observed one of the most heinous crimes of the mankind… A brutal gang rape that culminated in the death of its victim, Nirbhaya. Everybody, right from the media to the most common citizen of India, has been discussing the incident for the last entire year in newsrooms, living rooms, classrooms, kitty parties, students' organization meetings, women's organizations, smoking areas of corporates, local trains, bus stops and at every place where two sensible persons meet. We have had debates, discussions, committees, schemes, and many other things as a result of the outrage of Nirbhaya case.

And yet… we have rape cases doubled and molestation cases risen by 6 times in the last year. One may say that rape cases have doubled, while some may opine that reporting of rape cases have doubled, which might be looked at as a positive sign. However, we are certain that if rape cases have indeed doubled, it is an alarming situation. Increase in reporting will mean that the subject has received much more recognition in comparison to a year ago. It will also mean that victims are not scared of being stigmatized as they were a year ago. It will also mean that maybe people have started vesting their faith in the system (police, law, judiciary all put together), thinking that they have a chance of getting justice. This may lead to more complaints being lodged. Same goes with molestation cases too. All these figures are always open for interpretation…
What is not open for interpretation is the fact that women, young and old, urban and rural, traditional and modern, professional women and housewives, are still being raped and/or molested in homes, offices, buses, dark alleys, hotel rooms, cars, beaches, toilets… everywhere!
What we must understand is that rapes are not only numbers, but real life traumas experienced by women which leave them scarred for the rest of their lives. Rapes are irreversible facts of every woman who has experienced that brutality. Rapes are a brutal reality threatening our everyday lives. Rapes are a mentality that is hampering our lives as individuals and as a society. It is hampering our interpersonal relations in a way that is making every day worse than the previous one.

We have already reached a state where every girl is taught, either directly or indirectly, to look upon any man or boy as a probable molester and to keep distance from every man or boy. It is not hard to imagine where this is going to lead us. And this is not going to change, even if incidence of rape cases goes down… And as long as one woman is being raped somewhere, the fear of being the next one will lurk in the minds of all other women. Because as we all know, none of us is safe till all of us are safe!