When I read about the Delhi gang rape I was shocked as was the entire nation. I quickly logged onto the blogosphere to check the reaction of my fellow bloggers. Anger, rightly justified, was the main reaction that many displayed. Anger at the 6(although the initial reports mentioned 7) barbaric men, anger at the police for not being vigilant enough, anger at the politicians for not giving importance to public safety. Thousands of young men and women are thronging the streets in Delhi enduring the water and teargas shells from the police force. Some are advising on measures to be taken to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in future. Removal of tinted glasses from public vehicles, buses plying on roads only for women, more police patrolling at nights are some of the remedial measures that were suggested.
Some suggested that these things will happen until we teach our younger generation to respect women. I agree. I also read a blogger protesting against some people calling the 6 men as animals. It’s an insult to animals, I agreed. In fact I agreed to most of the opinions posted by bloggers, I dint have anything new to contribute to the matter, so I chose not to write on it. But as a week progressed and the agitation grew it was difficult to maintain my silence. So no matter even if I repeat or reiterate what most of my friends wrote, I had to write because I am a woman and at some point of my life, I have been groped and pinched in a bus or in a crowd and it’s my time to speak up now.
The more I thought about it the more I felt depressed because in a country like India there’s no permanent solution to rape. Forget about this single incident of Delhi rape case; let’s talk about rape in general. Tomorrow the media will get a better topic to talk about and they’ll forget about it, the public will forget about it, the politicians will forget about it. The girl (I refuse to call her a victim, she’s a fighter, she’s a survivor) will alone have to deal with it. She’s just 23 years old, damn it. I have to control my feelings, keep my anger in check because anger never leads to any permanent solution. We can have our revenge against those 6 men, we can demand for chemical castration, we can ask for public hanging, but will it really deter men from committing same crimes. I am not so sure.
I also read that we need to instill good family values to our children, to teach our sons that their sisters are equal to them and the rules won’t be relaxed just because they are boys. If their sisters can be given a 9PM curfew time then the same rule will apply to them too. Yes I definitely agree, but “we” here refers to me and you, who are educated and believe that women have equal rights to freedom as men. But in a country where girls are killed even before they are born, I don’t think instilling such beliefs will happen. I mean, what will a father who regularly thrashes his wife teach his son? What will a mother who silently suffers her husband’s physical and verbal abuse teach her daughter? Most of Indian families still have a patriarchal system and to teach our kids that women are equal to men, the family has to believe in this.
Then there are a few morons who still believe that a woman’s dressing or her behavior is a contributing factor to rape. I would tell these morons to wake up, 5 year old girls are being raped and I don’t think that they are actually asking for it by dressing in short skirts and tank tops. The Delhi girl had a male companion with her and still she was raped. This did not deter the rapists, right? So the theory that women travelling alone at night are actually titillating men is total rubbish.
What can we do to stop such heinous crimes from occurring? I am not sure and as dismal as it sounds, I don’t think in a country like India we can completely get rid of it. The truth is I am scared for myself and my daughter. I am not so naïve to think that this may not happen to me. Rape has become everyday news and its scaring me. I will enroll myself in a self defense class for sure. I will teach my child to be aware and educate her about good touch, bad touch. But I don’t want to live in fear, I have a right to live with freedom as much as anyone else. Every time I come home late from office, I don’t want to call my husband just because I am scared to travel alone at night.
I AM A WOMAN AND I HAVE THE RIGHT TO MY FREEDOM, RIGHT TO LIVE MY LIFE WITH DIGNITY.