If you are tired of reading the gruesome headlines of rapes four times a day, no, you are not alone. The crimes against women do not occur on a random night or over months. Every single rape is fueled by centuries of patriarchy gone wrong. But the deeper one looks, the more one realizes that there is no solution unless the people in power REALLY take up the cause.
Unnao and Hyderabad rape cases take us back to the bus stop in Munirka, Delhi, where, boarding a white bus decided the fate of a 23-year-old Nirbhaya. When I travel to that Munirka road, it still reeks of the horrors from that dark night. But that is not the only street in India that feels unsafe, is it? Nor is it the only street in the nation’s capital, Delhi, that feels unsafe. Every corner that is not lit and every turn that has a missing street light, makes the Indian woman skip a heartbeat.
Khaali Thaali Against Rape
Every woman feels the pain while reading through the story, the headlines, the truly dark words set in black ink. All these centuries of unabated sexual abuse have made Swati Maliwal, (Chairperson of Delhi Commission of Women) go on a hunger strike. And this has, in turn, inspired Indian women to follow ‘Khali Thaali Annshun‘. Women across borders are taking up a 24-hour hunger strike.
But all these efforts seem frivolous when one discovers that our society is shamelessly misogynist when it comes to how we see our women. The horror is that misogyny and patriarchy transcend culture and geography in India. It’s omnipresent. In everything we do. From gruesome crime to violent retribution.
Meet the leaders of today
Prominent politicians, filmmakers, and even highly educated people assume the rape is a part of life. According to them, women should give in and boys, well, boys just make mistakes!
Ladke hain, galti ho jaati hai
In fact, even the politicians in power have made hate speeches that can put even Nirbhaya’s culprits to shame. The latest addition to such comments came through Twitter after Hyderabad Veterinary doctor’s rape and murder. A Telugu producer, Daniel Shravan, proved that 21st-century society is still mentally unwell. He imparted the “genius” idea of legalizing rape without violence.
Prominent female politicians vigorously spoke out when they were in opposition. But now they sit in a cozy office chair nodding to society’s ill stereotypes. Yes, we miss them from the streets where crimes against women still haven’t stopped.
This leads one to question whether our leaders are actually glorifying rape behind the cameras? (And sometimes in front of them)
India glorified ‘Sati’ for years, is the same pattern being followed with Rape?
When Britishers worked against the practice of forcing a woman to burn herself alive, some of us weren’t happy. In a country where ‘Sati’ is still glorified deep down in some cultures, it is not shocking that the Unnao rape victim was burnt alive.
So, what has changed; now that we are “modern”, “educated” and “developing”?
A lot has changed. The figures have changed. The laws have changed. In fact, even the ‘barbaric nature of rape’ has changed. With over 90% of the reported rapes against women coming straight from known members of family or friends, Indian mothers’ advice to their daughters has changed. (Hasn’t it?) Mothers are advising not only to beware of the strangers, but they are also advising to beware of the people we have grown up around.
The rapes have become monstrous. And these are only the ones that have come to light. The ones that are not hidden to “save” a family’s “honour”.
When the news of Hyderabad rape victim’s accused’s encounter came, the whole country was overjoyed. But was justice really served? Do we really need justice by gun and mess already messed up things?
We do not need to shoot down rapists, we need rapists to not exist in the first place. Violent retribution is nothing but an extension of the demon called Patriarchy that plagues our Indian society.
We need the Indian judiciary and executive to ‘really’ implement the detailed laws they make and live by them. In fact, we need lawmakers to come into action without the need for reminders from agitated citizens on hunger strikes and protests.
We demand not to be constantly terrorised by those sickening rape headlines.