The annual National Crime Research Bureau (NCRB) report shows an alarming increase in crimes against women. On an average, 93 women are victims of rape every day. One-third of them are minors. Every day, on an average, 28 women are being burnt to death in cases registered as dowry deaths. However shocking these statistics might be, these reflect only a small percentage of the crimes committed against women. The majority of cases go unreported.
Gender violence excites the public imagination only when it is rape or murder. But violence against women is an everyday, continuing affair. It is a million small acts calculated to keep women down. It is the misogyny that is depicted in films in the name of art and free speech; it is brothers dictating what sisters should wear; husbands assuming their jobs are always more important than their wife’s; offices selecting women for trivial jobs and men for leadership roles; policemen refusing to file rape FIRs.
There is no doubt that better policing, fast-track courts, quick sentencing are the need of the hour as each can serve as a deterrent. But it is important to understand that such measures without understanding the root cause of the Violence against women is like giving pain killers to cure cancer! We need to understand why some of us, who have all fed from our mother’s breasts and embraced our sisters in our arms, suddenly become so hostile towards other women from our society? Why does a man rape?
Many children in this country grow up to witness the father enjoying a superior status than the mother, and how the final say in any important decision regarding the family rests with him. Traditions like the paying of dowry by the bride’s family (a tangible example of the inferior worth of women) and the social restriction on women, the expectations that they must be obedient and become virtual slaves to their in-laws are part of it too. Also, the preference of male child over the female and the incidents of female feticides makes a girl feel herself of less worthy. Think about that for a moment. How much less valuable must a girl be, in her on eyes, when parents are killing their daughters?
The fact that some men think they run this world, and the women are supposed to be subservient to them, gets ingrained in children’s minds, throughout the course of their childhood. And as adults, many of them start viewing women, either, as hapless beings, who need their support, or as mere objects, for their sexual gratification. Thus, it’s no wonder that a portion of them turn out to be rapists, who think it is fine to violate a woman, to show their power and authority over her.
There is no easy solution to the crime happening against women in India, as the underlying causes are an intricate web of multiple factors. To bring about a change in the mindsets and attitudes of society is the prime solution to tackle this complex problem. A feeling that every human being, irrespective of his or her gender or sexual identity is equal and should be treated with respect must be inculcated in the young minds. Education of boys and girls from a young age and including gender sensitivity modules in the school curriculum is a step in the right direction.
Boys and girls should be raised in an atmosphere of freedom and a culture of mutual respect. Parents should take into account the opinion of the girl in an arranged marriage, Afterall she is not cattle to be sold. All steps must be taken to stop the Commercialization and commodification of a women’s body. Parents and teachers should teach kids about the value of consent. No means NO!!
Man is not a superior person because he has the capability to impregnate a woman. In all probability, she is a superior being because she can create another human being!
True Gender Sensitization is the call of the hour.