Does the title make any sense? If it doesn’t, it will. Soon.
The Delhi rape case has rocked the entire country to its very core, and protesting, yelling, cursing, screaming against the sheer heinousness of the crime is the new trend. “Trend” you ask? Trend, I say. When I decided to blog about this, I didn’t know what to write. In fact, I still don’t. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? And what is left to say? A woman can’t even take a bus in this country’s capital at 9:30 p.m. (far from the bedtime for most adults) without getting raped. Whoever said India is the next superpower ought to get his head checked. We don’t deserve this title.
Before talking about this issue, I thought I’ll present a few numbers that, I think, taken together show India for what it truly is: a hypocritical, violent society that has no respect for its women, nor any morals whatsoever. And saying that I am ashamed to be an Indian is an understatement. Go through these numbers-
1. There were 23,582 rape cases reported last year. Yes, that’s a 5-digit number.
2. There are at least 20 men accused of raping women who ran in the Indian elections in the last 5 years. So when you hear these political party members “condemning” rape, and if your kid asks you the meaning of the word ‘hypocrisy’, explain this case as an example.
3. The number of rapes have grown by a disgusting 792% (almost 9 times) in the last decade.
4. 2 out of 3 rape cases go unreported. Now go back to 1. and think how many rapes actually occur in India.
If you were bored reading the above points, I don’t blame you. These are just numbers to us. They don’t mean anything unless it is our sister/daughter/mother who is stared at/ groped/ raped. And why should it? How can we feel someone else’s pain when our life is going perfectly?
Dad and I discussed the Delhi case at length yesterday. Such cases really make me mad, and I was swearing non-stop, going “What can we do? What can we do?” like a deranged parrot. He, being the old-fashioned, safety-first kinda guy that he is, said that all we can do is take precautions. Don’t go out at late hours. Learn karate or judo or whatever to fight such people. Don’t wear provocative clothes. When I heard this, I totally lost it. No, really. This, exactly THIS is why India is what it is today. “Prevention is better than cure”. The British ruled us for over 200 years only because, we, as people, are like sheep… accepting, never fighting back, spineless, and driven the way others tell us to. And Indian men expect Indian women to be that way too. Except today’s Indian women are not like that. They’re fighting back. Maybe this is why the men hate our guts.
What my dad suggested was no solution. It was sheer cowardice. Hide and hope the problem goes away. I pointed out the following things to him: The girl who was raped in Delhi was not out very late. It was only 9:30 p.m. Karate won’t help a woman if there are a bunch of men forcing themselves on her (although it’d be pretty satisfying to take a few hits at these rapists’ groins). And rahi baat provocative clothes ki. What can I say? That is just bullshit. Are men such savages that they turn into heavy-breathing animals at the sight of a little- or even a lot of- skin? And even if they do, it is their problem. That does NOT give them the license to go rape someone. Nothing. Absolutely nothing excuses rape. Be it short clothes, going out at late hours, being friendly towards someone or even flirting… NOTHING EXCUSES RAPE. (I know that writing in caps isn’t going to change anything, but I am in a state of constant angst since the last few days, and it is all I can do right now to not go into a swearing spree all over this blog.)
So what can we do? The Indian Penal Code subjects a rapist to 7 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine. That is gross injustice. 7 years of RI will not bring back the girl’s life before rape, it is not going to stop her neighbours’ pity remarks or her family’s abandonment. Me and my friend Taha came up with the following solutions:
1. Medical records for a rape victim should be handled with most care; absolutely no tampering of evidence must be allowed. This is saying a lot considering how much you can get the police/doctors to do with a simple bribe of, say, Rs. 1000.
2. There should be a psychiatric counsellor present for every rape case. The rape victim must be taken to the counsellor before asking her for the details of the rape.
3. Subject the rapist to a penectomy (dictionary meaning: surgical removal of the penis for medical/personal reasons) and RI for life. The procedure doesn’t even have to be surgical. Why spare him the pain? Maybe this sounds gross, or stupid, or a rant coming from an angry, unthinking mind. But as Taha told me, between emasculation and death, every guy on this earth would choose the latter. So the punishment is very, very apt.
4. There should be a separate court for open-and-shut cases like the Delhi one. Trials must be performed on a fast-track basis.
5. The sex ratio in India is 800:1000 which does not sound so bad, until you extrapolate it till India’s population: 1.2 billion. No wonder there are so many sex-starved men out there. Control female foeticide, there should be strict laws against abortion because of the baby’s gender.
6. Provide absolutely free education (all the way upto post-grad) to women on a need-basis so that they do not have to depend on their male-counterparts or their family to provide for them.
7. Making prostitution legal, though a seemingly appropriate solution, is not one. This would only increase human trafficking.
8. Over 500 commandos of the National Security Guards are deployed as Z-level security for politicians. And truth be told, Z-level security is nothing but a status symbol for them. It is no secret that the police force in our country is grossly understaffed. Why not use a chunk of the security personnel for the security of the common man instead?
Most importantly, rape laws must be strict and implemented in a manner that the victim feels that justice has been served. There should be no loopholes, no law jargon that allows an accused to get away. Thing is, in India, no one fears the law. People laugh at policemen and the ability to get out of a criminal case so easily. Corruption is so rampant in every sector here, that the only way to get some work done in India is through bribery. In the Ruchika Girhotra case, the accused, DGP SPS Rathore, was sentenced to 6 months RI and a fine of Rs. 1000. And by the way, the case lasted for 19 years. Do you think justice was served?
It is only when we change people’s mentality, will we achieve real change. The mentality of “police kya kar legi!” The mentality of, “bichari was raped, you know“. The mentality of considering your life to be over, if you’re raped. No. Life isn’t over. Screw what others say. Screw the sympathy people show for you, a rape victim! What you need to do is fight back. And not let the “rape” become the only factor in your life. No, being raped isn’t the end of the world. It should be-only for the accused. Not for the victim. It is time we learn to be angry. Very angry. Gandhi’s ‘turn the other cheek’ mentality is of no use in today’s India. Screw that too.
I could go on for pages. There is so much to speak over this matter. And that is all we do do, you know. Speak. Speak about the Guwahati rape case, the Bangalore rape case, the Dombivali eve-teasing case… and now the Delhi case… which is why I used the word “trend” in the beginning. The Delhi case has everyone watching the news with rapt attention, but what about the earlier mentioned rape cases? What happened to the accused in those? And what about the thousands that are not such high-profile cases and cover a small 4-inch space on the third or fourth page in the newspapers? Why are we not equally outraged over these?
For now, I am very much interested in finding out where this anger over the Delhi case takes us. Will it again die a slow, predictable death like everything else in our country does, or will it actually bring a change in our primitive rape laws? Are we going to remain as the Black Dot people- putting up silly DPs on our Facebook accounts and holding candle marches- or are we actually going to do something about it?
Let us not settle for assurances this time. We need answers. We need drastic change. And soon.