Tag Archives: society

the wise old man was right?

I tried to make sense but I could not, I tried to process the recent events but I could not so I apologize to the Khap Panchayat leader on whose logic i had once laughed- when he said that western culture is leading to rape, when he said that men might take ages to be civil so women should be more careful, when he said that wearing jeans, getting education, travelling alone can cause rape, too much TV and late marriage is leading to rape….Everything he said seems right when i see what is happening around me.

He was a wise old man, too many wrinkles and a lot of smoke from his hooka, but he perhaps had understood the inbuilt flaw of our society- the fact that we accept( allow and encourage) men to be aggressive, violent and disrespectful. We have raised a society that accepts men to be aggressive, who play the role of either the oppressor or the protector (the cases of rape on men are either never reported) and sadly rape is looked down upon only because it seems like an insult to the woman’s honor and hence a proof of the lack of protection by the male chaperons. Which is why the Social stigma of being a rape victim much more than the stigma of a wife beating husband or a roadside harasser?

Many times police is asked why our cities are not safe, i am waiting for an office to tell them that cities are safer than homes, schools, buses also most of the rape cases are not reported and are done by some one the victim knows or trusts. Police has no mechanism to stop rape before it happens and the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ clause can not make them arrest every man who ever whistled at a woman as a ‘probable rapist’. Most importantly police can not enter you house to see if the females are being raped, they can not check each bus on the roads, they can defiantly not see if there is marital rape. NO one can and hence the only tool in the hands of the state is the have a strong law and ensure implementation. How tragic would the life of a rape victim be who has to see her culprits for years and years as they are released for lack of evidence and whom she sees once every few months in courts for years and years.

As crude as it sounds, Media likes news about rape, everyone had many opinions and every person wants to hear about it. The anchors are fighting over the details and needless to say the law (which has punishment for media if a rape/acid attack/social outcast victim is named or identified ) is forgotten in the race to have one 20 second exclusive. When leading papers talk of death sentence for the guilty, one wonders if they are speaking of a solution or of creating a barbaric entertainment set up which ensures TRPs and a continuation of aggression. Also sadly a very small minority sees rape as an exploitation of the woman’s sexuality and dignity, its more of ‘she is killed while she is still alive’….i wonder if rape by itself kills the victim or the culprit, who had a fall from humanity and brutally hurt another being.

Its not something a parents thinks of when his or her boy leaves home…If he would be bullied and harassed (PLease lets not call it eve teasing), If he would have to hear lewd remarks about his body, If he would be seeing inappropriate gestures or worse if he would be raped. These concerns are reserved for the girls and this concern leads to the notion that father and brother must play the ‘protector’ role thereby reinforcing the notion that protection can come from within the family, community or neighborhood.

Since times immemorial all mothers, aunts, elder sisters tell girls how to try and avoid trouble but when will fathers, uncles and elder brothers tell boys that they better not be the kind of person that tarnishes the family honor, until then people will have to find solace in the wise old man’s explanation.

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police lacks apathy, society lacks what???

MUMBAI: The recent acid attack on a 22 year old woman at a crowded railway station, by a man who had allegedly attacked her twice before, has raised questions over police apathy in dealing with cases of harassment as much as safety. “This is the third time that she has been attacked, earlier she was attacked on the face, with a small knife.

After the first attack we moved from Malwani to Nallasopara to feel safer,” Seema Thakur, mother of the victim said. On Wednesday Railway police arrested a 25 year old man, her former land lord for throwing acid on her face. The victim, presently at Singhvi hospital has been provided police protection, however her earlier attempts to book a complaint went in vain. “I don’t know why the police did not register a case when we approached them earlier…her doctors are confident that she will recover but the family will always be scared,” the petrified mother said.

“Incident such as an acid attack does not emerge suddenly; negative feelings repressed over a long time finally result into something so hurtful. So why does the police and society refuse to act when it can be stopped, before it ruins a woman’s identity?” asked Shirin Juwaley, who survived an acid attack by her husband in 1998. While Juwaley regards Mumbai as ‘safe for women’ she adds that ‘mindsets are very unsafe’, “We are socially conditioned to accept that men can eve tease or harass women and the only time we address the issue is when something shocking happens. The police also does not feel the need to address the issue unless a women is traumatised enough to make it to the headlines,” said Juwaley who currently runs an NGO, Palash, to help women in similar situations and helps victims of disfigurement.

Expressing shock over police inaction Soniya Gill, secretary Maharashtra All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) said, “Why did the police wait to act until the woman was attacked with acid, how could the earlier attacks with blades not be registered?…Police must be asked why it did not do anything when the girl approached them on two previous occasions?” While officials at Malwani police station refused to speak on the issue, the railway police very proudly claimed that adequate measures were in place to ensure safety of women passengers, “There are extra constables in each local train compartment from 8:30 pm till 6 am, helpline numbers are written everywhere so that in case of a problem there is a quick response,” said Ankush Shinde, DCP, Railway police, western railways. “In the recent case the victim was not in the train but at the platform- a very crowded area. Even then the police quickly rushed her to the hospital and later helped in the arrest by CCTV footage,” he added.

“I see thousands of women rushing to work and back everyday, if this were not a safe city how they could be so free? There might be few stray cases but we can not question the safety of women all together,” Pramodini Balaram Matre, homeguard at the Mumbai Central railway station said rejecting the notion that there is any safety concern for women in Mumbai. However the Mumbai police cut a sorry figure in providing data for cases of attacks on women, “There are very few cases of such attacks that are actually reported because in most cases the attacker is a known person,” spokes person of Mumbai Police said.

The victims however recall each detail of the treatment given by police, “I was burned and completely disfigured but when I asked the police to file a case against my husband and his brother, I was asked to forgive, forget and reconcile,” said Sneha Jawale. Ms Jawale was harassed for dowry and in 1997 she was doused with kerosene oil and burned. “How much security can you have, if you are attacked in your house by your husband and the police refuse to register a case what can security do then? she questioned. “It was not until our divorce proceedings that the incident was recorded, before that the police simply refused to acknowledge it.” Today Sneha Jawale is a successful astrologer and writes dialogues for Marathi films and TV serials.

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