Another shocking event, close on the heels of the US massacre..Both have left me deeply disturbed, angry, sad…thinking
The horrendous and savage gang rape of a young Delhi girl. It is painful to see how the staggering number of rapes and crimes against women are on the rise…unchecked. According to the National Crime Records Bureau figures, which document only cases registered with the police, the national capital had 453 cases of rape in 2011. Mumbai, the city with the next highest incidence, had only half this number. Of course, we are on the streets, asking for immediate and swift action..from public hanging to castration.
Of course, I want the severest of punishment, swift and quick.. Not death..that is an escape.. Torture and pain and humiliation would be more like it…But is that all? So we are saying.. a man rapes just because he thinks he can get away with it? No there has to be more…anger, sadism, lack of control that must stem from a feeling of macho power that soothes insecurity and worthlessness.
The mother in me worries about the safety of my daughter in a nation with men like this..But then I think, I have a son too.. Our whole culture needs a change. We have to start now with our men, our brothers, our husbands, our sons.
It is not just the seemingly clear issue of female infanticide or when a politician says reduces marriageable age to reduce rape. There are messages passed out everyday… in demeaning full page undergarment ads , a malakia shaving the evening stubble off her man ,in tons of item numbers and countless tv soaps dramas teeming with extra marital affairs…and we continue to accept it and then gape when the full brutality of it hits us.
We still live in macho-man India. The maximum sensitivity our Hindi cinema has allowed is to let the Hero cry. How about equality? How about respect? When will they ever show that when a girl says No, it means No… Not that after a few songs and dire threats from a handsome hero, she will undoubtedly change her non-existent mind. WAKE UP INDIA. Every hero in Indian movies eve-teases and we are okay with it… yet we gasp when a wannabe on the road throws acid on a young teen because she did not change her mind, like the heroine..How many Hindi Movies have had a rape victim marry the man who raped her as a solution? How many countless movies have the girl-in-western wear turns to good-girl in sari theme?
Unfortunately these heroes are the role models for the directionless youth. We as women have to teach and demand respect. That means empowering every girl in every school with some basic self defence course, an action-plan… whether pepper spray or a small knife. And teaching every son that his sister is his equal and does not need to be “protected” by him. And having every husband realise his wife is truly to be treated as a partner and as an equal. That a pati-vrita sita getting swallowed by the earth and an almost raped Draupadi need not be repeated to our children as “Mythology”.
Parenting is all about being role models finally..if we can model these values and reinforce respect and equality for women , we can hopefully stop more crimes against women rather than seeking punishments after these atrocities have been committed.

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