Patriarchal culture and sexism pervades India, but it seems that there’s no other place quite like Delhi where patriarchy and power mingle to create a sense of supreme male entitlement. It’s a festering cesspool that permeates right into families where these attitudes are born and reborn. Whatever the case may be, I think we can all agree on the fact that it would suck to be a woman in India. While I hate having to admit that, I won’t ever deny that fact.
I love being Indian. I’m immensely proud of my country and heritage. But if there’s ever been a day when I’ve held my head in shame, it would be today. It was bad enough having to hear how brutal of a rape that 23-year old girl was forced to undergo, but the responses (or lack thereof) from our so-called educated politicians and the police force have made it all the more worse.
I saw pictures of these young girls standing their ground, protesting, screaming in the cops’ faces and getting beaten up. Learned pundits question why. What is the point of this protest anyway? What is it that they want? It’s a pity they can’t even see how basic their need is. They just want to be treated as humans; it’s as simple as that.
I’ve had my share of molestation both in India and Dubai. Hands stealthily moving over you, pinching your bottom, rubbing your breasts as you desperately try to find some inch of ground that will be safe. Those moments of being groped and pawed were so fleeting; most times I wouldn’t see who did it. Other times have left me angrier at myself for being stunned and not responding fast enough before he could get away. And other times I was too young to know that such behavior was wrong. While my parents would never react like this, the general reaction when reporting back about said molestations is: “Kya karein, aisa hi hota hai” (What can you do, this is how it is). It’s a crushing realization that this is a fact of life and something you’ll just have to deal with. Bottom line is: if you have breasts, you’re fair game.
It shames me to read that India is the world’s fourth most dangerous country for women, sharing disgrace with Afghanistan, Congo, Pakistan and Somalia. This despite the fact we have a fairly comprehensive range of laws around women’s rights. So why is it that we still feel unsafe? The trouble lies in weak implementation of laws fusing with antiquated customs in a rising atmosphere of rape culture.
The movement surrounding this recent gang rape to stop this violence against women must be sustained till justice is done for every one of us who have been violated. The victim of the Delhi gang rape has triggered a social revolution. While the circumstance under which this movement came to be is extremely unfortunate, we must sustain it, deepen it, expand it. We must demand and get speedy and effective justice for the women of India. We must call for fast track courts to convict those responsible for crimes against women. We must make sure laws are changed so justice is not elusive for victims of sexual violence. And most of all, we must see to it that these new laws are implemented so that justice will always be provided.