A couple of days back I woke up to read a disturbing article in the newspaper. A 19 year old sales girl from Chennai was gang raped by boys who were her "friends". One of the boys, her classmate from school, had asked her to accompany him to visit another friend of theirs who had apparently taken ill. This unsuspecting girl went with the boy to the friends house only to realize that the boy wasn't ill and was in the company of four other boys. They offered the girl a drink and after a few sips she realized that something was wrong with it. They forced her in to drinking and when she became unconscious the boys repeatedly raped her. By the time she regained consciousness they dropped her off at her house. The next day the girl was suffering from extensive bleeding and was taken to a Government hospital. The doctors informed her mother that it was a clear case of rape and asked her to file a complaint with the police.
On February 9th three cases of rape took place at the same night in Delhi. In the first incident, a 13 year old girl was abducted and raped by a 30 year old man because she did not accept his Facebook request. In the second incident a 17 year old girl was kidnapped and was sexually abused in car while continuously roaming the streets The accused was a relative of hers. In the third case a 17 year old girl was walking back home from work with her friends was forced in to a car and kidnapped. Her friends who tried to fend off the kidnappers were assaulted. This girl is yet to be traced.
In Delhi, a constable was arrested for molesting an under age girl in a slum area. In Kolkatta a man was mercilessly beaten to death for a lodging a compliant againt some men who were sending obscene MMSes to his college-going daughter.
All these events took place this month. It makes me wonder if India is really a safe place for women. None of these girls asked to be raped. They were from working class backgrounds trying to find some means to an end.
I feel that men do not understand the extent of their actions. Most of these assaults are done just for momentary pleasure or it is seen as a way to take revenge on the girl. Sexual abuse is prevalent everywhere. I'm sure that almost every girl has experienced abuse/molestation of some kind. I'm talking of the smallest cases of molestation, a sneaky hand in a crowded area, an intended brush across the body. Sometimes abuse takes place at home, by someone who is in the family. The trauma that a victim of sexual abuse goes through is indescribable. It may be just a moment to experience pleasure for men but for the victim the after effects of this carries on through out her life, more often than not ruining future relationships.
Take for instance the girl from Chennai, she has been through so much mentally. It would be no surprise if in the future she does not trust any man. She may become skeptical of every person she meets and every relationship she has.
What are we doing to protect India's women? On one side we are advocating for the girl child. Educating people to not kill their daughters. On the other side there is rape and molestation at every corner. If this is how the country is going to be then the murdered daughters of India are better off in their graves.
As a country we seem to have lost our morals somewhere down the line. We have forgotten to care for whats right. We seem to have such a 'take it in your stride' attitude about everything. If the girl is raped or molested the blame game begins and all fingers are pointed towards the victim for "tempting" the man. I do not disagree that man is wired differently but because of this reason it his responsibility to keep himself in check. There are stories of men molesting small children and pre-adolescent kids. "Temptation" does not play its part here. Abusing children is probably the most cowardly, most despicable and demeaning act there is.
It irks me to see that we aren't taking issues like these seriously. But if a minister is caught watching porn in the assembly then that becomes front page news and every news channel worth its salt replays the video for days. Schools and colleges need to educate their students on these lines. They need to create awareness starting from the lower classes. The earlier children know about these things the easier it would be for them to understand how wrong it is when someone misbehaves with them. Schools need to have counselors who can help them in understanding what is wrong and whats right. As a society we are still shy to talk about this subject. We want to push it under the carpet and act like it doesn't happen. But we need to open our eyes and accept reality. We need to be broad minded enough to not blame it on the victims. Parents need to explain this to their children.
As much as we want it to be, the world is not a happy, shiny place. It is dark, scary and like it or not we are vulnerable creatures.
These two issues are really close to my hear and it pains me to read news stories like this almost every day. I cannot imagine the angst the victim goes through. There can be no compensation for going through such a tough ordeal. Money cannot make the scars go away. Rehab and counselling can only do that much. Beyond that it is entirely up to the strength the person has to block the images, grit their teeth and move on acting like life is a happy place when at the bottom of their heart they know that things can never be the same again.