Amidst the season of festivities and celebration, when we were preparing to welcome a New Year, something in 2012 shocked the whole Nation, and the world alike. The entire country was numb and dumbstruck when the news of the most horrifying rape came in the capital of the country flashed all over the news channels. December 16th, 2012 was a shameful day for India as a country and for mankind as a race.
A 23-year old woman in a free, democratic, and developed nation like India, surely deserves much better than what Jyoti Singh had to face on this dreadful night. That winter night in Delhi still runs shivers down our spines. It was not just another rape case; the brutality and gore of the entire incident were beyond imagination. 6 men outraged the modesty of a woman in such a way, and that too in the heart of the capital, that it surpassed all limits of horror. Though Nirbhaya lost the battle in her fight with life, but she united a society, a Nation to fight against all odds to bring the offenders to justice. The rapists were given a death sentence, and the juvenile offender was also dealt as per the law and judiciary system of India.
However, many did not support the way that juvenile criminal was freed from a death sentence because his crime was equally grave and serious as the others. But, it was commendable how the Court took prompt action and decision to punish the accused. This incident again showed us the deteriorating conditions of women’s safety in India, and how such incidents can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
On December 16th, 2016 this year, we stand on the fourth anniversary of the Nirbhaya incident, and I still ponder on whether a lot has changed or not. Was it truly an eye-opener for the society or the authorities? Has the society changed its outlook and have we understood the real problem? Are we still stuck in the shackles of prejudices Are we still blaming the wrong reasons?
Well, the questions are endless, and after 4 years, we still can’t forget the day, but are we able to rectify or learn from the past to pave the way for a better future?
A few things that still baffle my mind and I wonder whether they can ever be rectified to ensure maximum safety to any citizen in this country:
- A man had reported to the police about the vehicle and the people inside who had stolen his belongings, but the constables on duty paid no heed to this and took no action. Could the incident have been averted if they had taken some action or intimated the control room about the menace?
- When will the streets of the country will become safe for women at any time of the day or could she and her friend could have avoided the situation if they haven’t boarded the bus? But, what do you expect or suspect in this situation, when all you are waiting for is a transport back home? If not a bus, it could have been anything else or anyone else.
- It was surprising that how the offenders got the support of lawyers to fight their cases. How can someone plead not guilty in such a heinous crime?
- Why some politicians debated and passed weird comments after the incident, and blamed the victim for what happened? Are we still trying to busy dictating what the women should do rather than focussing on what the men shouldn’t?
- HAVE BEEN ABLE TO STOP RAPE TO A CERTAIN EXTENT? Well, as the statistics of the National Crime Records Bureau, there have been 34,651 cases of rape reported in Indian in 2015, and where the charge-sheeting rate is around 95% and conviction rate of around 29.4%. Well, we have been debating whether the figures have risen or fallen over the years, but do we ever try to make an effort that cases don’t occur at all. I guess, that is too good to be true.
- Is a woman in a remote village or in the city lights ever going to be safe? Are tourists and travellers feeling safe during their stay to our beloved motherland? Will a victim from a remote village have the facilities to report her incident, and will the authorities register her case? Will a family, relative and friends support a woman to register a rape case? Will someone help if they see or suspect such an incident?
- And, finally, will the law stop discriminating or delaying rape cases in terms of age, caste or status? An accused should never be freed if his guilt is proven. Will judiciary become equipped and wise to pass a fair judgement because we have also seen cases of false accusation? When will the authorities rise and join hands to fight against this crime, which not only damages a life, rather kills a soul?
Most importantly, will we ever be able to come out of the gender bias and prejudices, the mentality and perspectives, which might trigger such incidents, and strive to be a unified Nation, where we fight against crime like rape to eradicate it from the roots? I guess the day we will be able to find the answers to most of these questions, we might move one step closer to fighting RAPE in India.
And, every rape has the same impact on a victim, the same intensity of pain and trauma. So, even after 4 years, cases like Nirbhaya is just an example, rather than being a lesson. Because, rapes still do happen, and will continue to happen, unless… You, Me, and We can do something about it.