We need a world without rapists

The country is reeling from another rape case. Does India needs a stronger law and harsher measure to save its own daughters?

I befriended a new native in the city yesterday. She’s fairly new to the city, having stayed here just for the past four months. In this small span, she has already fallen in love with the city. What sets the city apart for someone whose hometown is the Pink City of Jaipur?
“The weather for starters. It’s so pleasant here!… And, then there is the safety of girls.” This left an undeniable ring in my ears. As the heinous crime in our neighbouring metro city is creating uproars from every corner of the country, I am left ruing if our city a safe haven for the girls still? Mumbai, like old-timers would recollect, wasn’t always this way. It was safe for girls, no matter what time of the day. The nightlife of Mumbai has always been envious. With so many friends, youngsters and the party-minded going about the city as the night jostles with the slowly fading darkness and paves way to the morning, the crimes on the fairer sex has been few but grave.
From cop to students at one of the prestigious management colleges in India, they have all crossed the line. One friend who studied in Mumbai few years back and hasn’t yet traveled in the locals since then, says that “Molestation is common if you are travelling in a local and it’s peak time of the day.” The girls are more courageous and have learnt to handle the jerks of society in broad daylight now. But, what happens when it is a secluded corner of a city or if it’s slowly growing dark outside?
A slow panic has engulfed across the nation. After Nirbhaya’s tragic incidence gripped us in a never foreseen panic, this violation of a 22-year-old photojournalist in the heart of Mumbai has left us shell-shocked. Our famed hospitality is tossed out and has sunk in the deepest pit of the neighbouring Indian ocean. We as Indians can no longer be proud of the heritage we are leaving behind with heaps of papers and their multitude of stories, narrating crimes being committed on girls across every corner of the country. From a poor, downtrodden to the suave urban woman, no one is safe. At least, not for now.
What about our own city? Not long ago, in 2007, a call centre employee lost her life protecting her virtues from the cab driver. The city woke up to a frenzy the next day as the papers splashed the news across our shamed faces. The city has learnt its lesson the hard way. Various I.T companies have become more wary now. The constant sight of police around their naka-bandis anywhere, out-of-the-blue is reassuring. Maybe, the government would indeed make an example out of the many accused who are awaiting their verdict in the umpteen rape cases. Maybe, the courts would be harsher, laws stricter and girls, safer than ever before in our country. Amen!

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3 replies on “We need a world without rapists”

“Protecting her virtues”? Fighting the “outrage of her modesty”? It’s folks like you that need to get out of the Victorian era. Understand what you’re talking about, or don’t speak at all; promoting stereotypes does more harm.

Mam, protecting her virtues was just a better way of saying ‘She was trying to stop the rape from happening’. “Outrage of her modesty” is a phase we haven’t used in the article. Please know that the article deals on an extremely sentitive subject and the writer is only wishing to push for stricter laws to stop the rising rate of crime against women. We are definitely not taking Pune or India to the Victorian era. Please do not take this article in a wrong way.

Mr. Shikarpur, “protecting her virtues” is NOT a better way of saying she was trying to fight off her attacker. For somebody taking on an “extremely sensitive” topic for their article, it’s surprising how this very telling choice of words escaped their notice. Perhaps this is so deeply entrenched in our mindset that we don’t really stop to ponder on the underlying meaning of the words we use to express our thoughts? In any case, the whole point of the debate that’s raging around is to change the parochial attitude that has permeated our society’s DNA down the ages. This begins with delinking sexual assault with the survivor’s “honor”. If the survivor is male, we don’t talk about the survivor’s virtue/modesty/honor, do we? (Rape should be gender neutral, after all.) You want to encourage the survivor to report the attack, without fear of being judged, or being shamed by deliberations over honor/virtue.
To the Editors: For an online magazine that aspires to represent the city (“Everything about Pune”), your articles do need to be more responsible in terms of content and context. A little more mature judgement in the feature selection process would probably help?

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