20 December, 2012

For Every Woman... To Every Man.

Spare a thought about this: Every bit of news, information, opinion and views about the Delhi gang rape case centers mainly around the girl, the rapists, the strengthening of laws against rape, the punishment for the perpetrators, and feeble solutions to curb rape. Everyone seems to circle the theme of ‘What to do AFTER a crime/rape has been done’. Hardly anyone talks about what ‘CAN’ be done to not let such incidents ever happen.

The few measures that are brought up to curb these incidents might work, but are despairingly feeble. The latest news regarding the Delhi-rape case is of removing dark films from the windows of buses. That may reduce the incidences, no doubt, but is it really addressing the issue?

All we hear and read about is ‘furious public reactions’ - emotional outbursts, rage, and hatred. While it’s good to let your feelings out, the views expressed in such state of mind fail to bring a valuable insight into dealing with such cases. Phrases and views like: “cut their b***s, stick a hot iron rod up their a***s, hang them” are spouted from anyone and everyone. People can demand for laws against the criminals/rapists, the Courts can mete out severe punishment to them, they can deliver justice, but the criminals and rapists will always be there to strike...

Hardly anyone questions or gives thoughts to the numerous hidden criminals/rapists who lay in the shadows. They are the ones who won’t give you a chance to fathom their inner mind, to gauge the extent of their actions. What do you do about such people? How do you stop them from harming others?

The ideal solution in these cases is to not have such people live among us. But that’s a highly tall order. It is an idealistic solution at best – but practically, it hardly has any chance of success.

I do agree that extremely strict punishment against such acts would be effective. The faster the punishment is delivered, the more effective and impactful the message that will be sent out to like-minded men. A severe, no-mercy, quick punishment would drive more of an impact in reducing the number of such incidents. However, this method will only ‘reduce’ the number of crimes/rapes – it does not solve the issue of rape not being committed.

What then, is the real solution to all this?


The real solution has to come from within, from within the men themselves.


The real solution lies in every man respecting women, in treating women the right way, in withholding from using women as and when they want, and in maintaining the soul of humanity.


It is up to the man to choose his own character – he can either be a Real Man, or an Inhu’man’.



SIDE NOTE

The other issue that I needed to bring forward is the way the media, politicians, police, protestors, activists, and general public voice their views about such incidents.

The general ‘tone’ used by most in such cases is ‘negative’. The repetitive pejorative notes are sometimes a detriment when addressing such issues. The general public is filled with fury, the politicians condemn the crime, the media highlights the atrociousness of the crimes, neighbours exaggerate their sentiments in discussions – somehow, the basic seriousness of the matter is lost in the negativity that dominates it.

I do understand that we are humans, and as humans, our emotions and our reactions toward such incidents is heightened to a great level, but at the same time, we are also driving wrong messages into the public (read: men who bend towards committing such crimes).

When you talk about: ‘so-many-number-of-rapes-happening-in-so-and-so-city’, ‘city-of-rape’, ‘victim-in-hospital’, ‘less-police-force’, ‘not-safe-for-women-to-roam-at-night’, ‘let-women-handle-guns-against-such-men’ etc. it gives a key to these men who see opportunities galore. It escalates the vulnerability of women in such men's minds.

Such 'grey words' are noticed by these men. They notice that the general public considers it unsafe for women to roam around at night, they see that the women raped are terrified to give testimony, they see that women can be physically harmed (the idea of women being the weaker sex is reinforced through this piece of news), they see the public not having faith in the police, they notice that the police do not seem inclined to be on strict vigilance, they see that the Courts wade through such cases at a slow pace, they see that the general view is that a girl alone at night only calls for trouble  – they note all these details, and feel that the night is theirs, and so are the women.

If instead, we change our tone and report that women can be safe anywhere at anytime as the public is by her side, that women can roam freely without worrying about nuisance elements since the police are constantly monitoring every lane, that women can dress as they like because anyone harming her will be immediately sentenced to harsh punishment by the Courts, that women can be women at any hour of the total 24 hours because they are the ones without whom the men would not have been born in this world - this may bring out a strong, forceful, firm, and confident aura around women, which may keep the wayward elements wary, and at a distance from women. This will of course work completely once each of these are carried out and actioned.

We need to reinforce messages, and actions of positivity, assertiveness, and strength of women. We have to promote the view that women have enough force to tackle such men – they have the force of themselves through the support of the Nation.

I say this, not just for women in India, but for women everywhere. We do not HAVE to HAVE compulsory safety measures set for us, it should be an involuntary knowledge that women can be safe anywhere, anytime. Everyone ‘needs’ safety, that fact is granted, but once safety becomes a rule, or a measure, then humanity is certainly in danger.


NEHA’S POINTERS

My friend Neha Agarwal came up with the following ideas that could be implemented in bringing down the number of crimes:
  1. Have a database of entire people living in the city. A history of their criminal records or psychological records, their permanent and local address, and contact number should be noted and kept updated. This could be of great help to police to keep a tap on such people. A digital data bank will help them keep a tab on these sort of people which in turn will automatically reduce the crime.
  2. Create a Court like TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act) – this special court should have no-bail and direct, instant punishment.


My prayers are with the girl, and for every other woman living in our world. My prayers are also with every man, that they may, each one of them, respect women and help, not harm them.


Venice