Monday, June 2, 2014

The Rape of the System

A piece by Deepti Menon

Image from Pixabay

What is the biggest issue in front of the new government today? If the modern Pandora’s Box is opened, there would be myriad ills flying out in all directions, but the biggest and the most troublesome one of all would be that of outrages against women in our country. The latest shockers from Badaun and Etawah have, once again, proved that, in certain states, women are not even seen as second class citizens. If a woman goes missing, it is not considered significant, for she does not even constitute a ripple in the cesspool of male supremacy.

Two young sisters, aged 14 and 15, disappeared in Badaun, and when their family approached the police station to lodge a complaint, they were not taken seriously. Later the bodies of the girls were found hanging on a tree. They had been gang-raped by four men, and as if that were not bad enough, hanged with impunity. The rapists have been arrested, along with a police constable who refused the family aid. It is to be seen what action will be taken against them, for there are more acquitted rapists, than not, who go out and commit 
the crime over and over again, because they have been lucky the first time around!

As usual, it is a case of the stable door being locked after the horse has escaped! The whole country came alive after the heinous Delhi gang rape case, and did not rest till the death sentence had been awarded to the culprits. However, what comes out of this incident is that when severe punishment, even a death sentence, is awarded to one solitary case, and thousands of offenders get away, scot free, it is hardly a deterrent worth worrying about.

So rapes continue, unabated, as men prowl about in groups, pounce on women from the weaker sections of society, and molest them, confident that they will not be punished. Most have huge caches of wealth, family members who look upon their crimes as mere escapades, (judging by what an ex CM said, when he pronounced that boys will be boys!), and enough influence to get out of sticky situations.

On many occasions the cops are also on the pay roll of these power mongers, and do everything in their power to hush up affairs. There have also been cases when cops have turned into rapists, as in the recent case where two policemen have been booked after two years for having raped a minor.

In another case in Etawah, the family members of a rape accused mercilessly beat up the mother of the rape victim to prevent her from opening her mouth. The result was that the woman has lost her power of speech and lies in the ICU, another victim of savage brutality. No arrests have been made, and the policemen and the big wigs in the state government mouth the usual platitudes about the case being looked into. Unfortunately, the case is looked into from the angle of the perpetrators, who are more powerful, and the poor victims are further victimized and brow beaten into silence.

It was the Mahatma himself who said, “OF ALL the evils for which man has made himself responsible, none is so degrading, so shocking or so brutal as his abuse of the better half of humanity to me, the female sex, not the weaker sex.” Sad it is that in a country that gave birth to peaceful religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, and in the past, held women in great reverence, such atrocities are happening.

And that brings me back to where I started! What is the biggest issue before the new government?  It is definitely the safety, well being and the security of women, and, hopefully, an advent into an era when women can live out their lives without being subject to harassment, eve teasing, molestation, acid attacks, rape and murder. As the chilling quote by C.J. Roberts in a piece aptly named ‘Captive in the Dark’ goes, “People often believed they were safer in the light, thinking that monsters only came out at night.” A belief that has been well and truly turned on its head!

Deepti Menon has always believed in the power of the pen. Having done her post graduation in English Literature and her B.Ed. in English, she had the option of teaching and writing, and did both with great enjoyment. She started writing at the age of ten, long before she acquired a Diploma in Journalism. Deepti also had the advantage of being an Army kid, and later an Army wife, and loved the idea of travelling around India, meeting new people and acquiring new skills. She firmly believes that much of her personality was honed during those travels. For Deepti, writing needs to sparkle with simplicity and originality, and she strives to find that one word that conveys her ideas most meaningfully to her readers. She believes that Mark Twain had the right idea when he said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”