Friday, 25 July 2014

Gang rapes - and the failure to stop them

RAPE. CASTE KILLS. MUTILATES. GANG RAPES. 

Picture taken from hinduhumanrights.info
And add to it the callous political statements made by the state ombudsmen. Lately, social, print and the broadcasting media are brimming with fresh cases of violence against women and rising anger of the masses against it.

Our country is being hit by such nerve chilling incidents on a daily basis now. In the past four decades, the number of reported rape cases in India shot tenfold from 2500 to 24,923 in 2012, according to the statistics from National Crime Records Bureau. Since many rapes go unreported, the problem may be worse. There’s family pressure to keep quiet about the crime, and it’s difficult to know whether the increase means more rapes have occurred or shows a growing willingness among victims to come forward.

Barely had the nation recovered from the brutality of Delhi gang rape before 2013 New years eve, we heard about the Shakti mills gangrape in Mumbai in August 2013. Even after implementation of stricter laws and harsher punishments to the accused, Badaun rape case in the remote village of Uttar Pradesh shocked us again. Incidents like these are like mealtime news for the state of UP where 60 million out of the 200 million inhabitants survive on less than a dollar per day. Clearly the problem lies in unemployment and poverty. As men from these patriarchal backgrounds are unable to make a mark in their society they turn to misogyny and sexual violence for inflicting their dominance over the weaker sex. Upper caste men suppressing the lower caste women; in a country already marred by caste and gender discrimination, a woman Dalit becomes a double Dalit. Mostly the rape victims are minors from lower castes.

The gravity of the situation lies in realizing the root cause of these gang rapes. Men with similar criminal instincts at same place, same time making them hunt like a pack of dogs. These incessant incests are brought up in our less privileged neighborhood itself. Put yourselves in their shoes; living in a small tattered hut with 8 plus people where domestic violence is so prevalent that it seems totally normal. Drunken husband and father beating up his wife and kids. Forced sexual intercourse infront of their kids, molestation, is a day-to-day affair. Education needs to be given from the grass-root level with sex education and law awareness. Better environments will only bring up better individuals.

Even after relentless media coverage and public outrage to such incidents, the rape of a six year old girl in Bangalore added to the horror and shame of the citizens of India. The accused may have been caught and will prosecuted too but will a death penalty to them end the rapist mentality epidemic? Personally, I feel the death penalty is an easy escape for the criminal from the crime he committed. While, the victim, if survives, is mentally and physically scarred for life why hang the guilty and let him escape his deeds. Punishments like Physical/Chemical castrations with life imprisonment need to be put in ordinances and law awareness must be spread to the remotest of the villages and cities. Only then shall the better halves of India breathe freely and lead a life of peace and dignity.

Also, we need to sensitize the political class to refrain from passing irresponsible comments on the national platform. Comments like "Boys will be boys", "Uttar Pradesh has least number of rape cases in India" by the state Chief Minister are deterrents to our society and also paint a sorry picture of India in the world. Karnataka CM also faced heavy criticism after he snapped back at the reporters saying, "Except that, don't you have any other issue? Is this the only news you have?". This justifies that the mindset of the common and ruling class needs to be changed exigently or Indian women will keep paying the price!