A 16 year old teenage girl was molested publicly by a mob of 50 men. She was beaten, stripped and groped. Police reached the scene after thirty minutes. The people on the streets watched and did nothing. A media person shot the whole episode. Police makes the first arrest two days after the incident, even after having first hand evidence.
The worst part is that the accused are charged under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code. I will tell you what it says,
“Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”
The offence is bailable and provides for imprisonment for a term of maximum two years. This section has been in force from the British Raj days. Not amended for almost a century, it throws light on the plight and distress that an Indian woman has to go through if her case falls under the same or if at all she decides to get justice by legal means. The Indian Legislature has already proven in many cases before that it doesn’t care to what happens to half the population of their country. Women are raped, beaten, molested, burnt or murdered if born.
People take pride because they belong to a country of rich diverse cultures and tradition. They believe India is a great nation, no matter what.
But, I am ashamed. Heavily ashamed because I belong to a nation which doesn’t respect women. I feel harassed, I feel helpless, I feel my own dignity is at stake, I can’t even think of how that young girl would have survived the trauma for thirty minutes. I am more than angry. I am agitated.
Rash says that he doesn’t want to live here because is desh ka kuch nahi ho sakta. Until yesterday, I didn’t agree with him. But, today I get this feeling that maybe he is right, maybe all the sayings that education changes ones mindset and thinking are not wholly correct, maybe 21st century isn’t that modern, maybe men still need to accept the fact that they are here because a woman decided some years back to let them be here and not kill them just because they were born male.
Apart from being agitated, I am also scared. I am scared for every female I know. I am scared because tomorrow I might have a daughter and she wants to go out and have fun and I stop her from living her life the way she wants to because the it is not safe out there. Because there are men whose penis operate their brain, because there are men who cannot argue or discuss forget accepting defeat they only know to rape, because there are men who earn more than enough but still harass their wife to bring along dowry, because there are men who neither have the guts nor the values to stand shoulder to shoulder with a woman and let her be.
I also understand, that no amount of social counselling is going to bring any change. Changes are rare and they only come when there is zero political ground. What we can do as public is not to tolerate such incidents. Reaction is what will bring the administration on its toes.
React when you see a woman being beaten (do not leave it on them as it is their private matter), react when you are molested, react when a man tries to feel you in a bus, train or on a road. Shout, abuse, kick and kill if needed. Hit them where they will feel the pain most. Teach them a lesson. Be proud to be a woman !