Every time I open this blog to write about the 23 year old girl who lost her life, eyes well up and there is a lump in the throat.. Not only because what this girl went through was hell, but also because of the feeling of helplessness, because, even as I’m writing this, there probably is another woman or child subjected to such pain. It pains to even say the word ‘Rape’.. The collective apathy of those in power, of the supporters of patriarchy, of the misogynists, is a gentle rubbing of salt in the wound. We continue to feel sore.
An anonymous moron in an intranet blog recently took it upon himself to enlighten his fellow-junta that the women had two important assets. Oh no. You can never guess! They are i)herself, b) her gold ornaments! No, the moron didn’t stop there. He went on to opine that while women took so much care about their ornaments and kept it ‘covered’, why they were asking for trouble by not covering themselves up. It hurts right? It hurt me too. But the absolute silence from the 100s of people who, am sure, read it, hurt me more. Among us, the educated lot, we have men and women who believe a woman’s place is a 100 steps behind the man, a secondary citizen who cannot claim her right to speech, movement, attire, desire, let alone her right to fight! Among us, we have in equal numbers, people who don’t want to get into this mess.. How does it help? Can we change such people? Who do you think is going to hear us out? Its a waste of time trying to talk sense into these people. Yes. Maybe they are right. It is that familiar ‘stone thrown in a slush’ story. I’m finding myself to be incapable of such ‘maturity’.
That irresponsible comment is not a ‘standalone’ opinion. Our admirable, adorable politicos have been giving us such wonderful insights of late. There are recommendations of doing-away with skirts as uniforms and to replace that with pants. There will be another one soon telling us after another rape of a pant-shirt clad girl that, it is because the girl was dressed inappropriately that she got raped. We must switch to full skirt and blouse or need-be a half-saree. These ‘know-all’ people will keep changing their minds on what the women can wear while conveniently covering-up the root-cause of the bloody issue. None of these people want to talk about the 13 year old girl who was raped and killed in Tuticorin, the 5 yr old kid in Bidar, another woman in the North who was raped again by the police when she went to file a compliant.. What kind of dress-code would someone prescribe for a 5 yr old? Disgusting.. Change in school uniform for girls alright… So what will be prescribed for women over 40? Each of these lawmakers would make for good museum pieces.
When Sunitha Krishnan spoke on a TV show (I think it was We the People on NDTV), she expressed her embarrassment at being given a standing ovation on the show.. She tried to get the message across that she was not some kind of hero, but a victim of rape who suffered more from societal stigma, suffered because of apathy among her own folks, suffered because she was silenced. She mentioned in her earlier TED talk about how she was able to overcome the pain and trauma of being raped, but how tough it has been to get past the blaming. On this particular show a few days back, she did not miss the opportunity of pointing out that its 24 years since she was assaulted and that as a nation, we are still talking…
We know that rape or any form of violence against women is not just an Indian phenomenon. It keeps happening everywhere. But the kind of empathy a victim gets, the stern hands of the law-enforcers, the care and sensitivity with which the issue is dealt with, the ways in which the victim is made to feel that he/she was not at fault, the levels of awareness among people (children included), the respect for an individual’s freedom and space without attaching a gender angle to it, are MAJORLY lacking in this country.
The brutal rape in Delhi has this time galvanized the protests across all mediums into a bigger movement of violence against women. Even as one moron passed loose comments on a woman’s assets, there is another young man who drafted a letter to the prime-minister to get the culprits punished without delay and this young chap mobilized signatures from most of the people. That people went to his desk voluntarily to sign the petition, is reason for hope. A hope that the momentum will be maintained and some good will come of it first in the form of reforms.. A change in the people’s outlook is but a gradual process..