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India is a dangerous place to be a woman. Men here have raped eight-month-old babies as well as a 100-year-old woman. It is a rape culture, in which girls are told how to dress to avoid ‘inviting trouble’ and ‘slutshamed’, normalising male predatory behaviour. To change this, Indians must deflect the discourse from women to the real problem: men. In the interim, GoI must swiftly set up a separate law enforcement unit for crime against women.

According to government data, nearly four women are raped every hour in this country. Realistically speaking, that means only about 90 women each day find the courage to report that they have been sexually violated. The real number — probably way higher — never gets captured as many rapes go unreported, buried under shame, confusion and fear.

Public data also shows that the majority of rapes are often perpetrated by persons known to the victim, including family and neighbors. Reporting this often risks inviting stigma on the victim rather than on the accused because, in our rancid rape culture, some of us also question victim’s behavior that brought on predators.

For the brave few who overcome this social assault, there are more tribulations to be had — from truculent cops, legal cases that go on for months, and even death. Most recently, a young 23-year-old woman from Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, succumbed to injuries after five men, including the rape accused, chased her down and burned her alive as she was on her way to meet her lawyers in the morning for sexually violated. This wasn’t the first attempt to gag her.

In Telangana, a 27-year-old veterinarian was set on fire after being gang-raped. The suspects were caught and later were killed in an alleged police ‘encounter’. Cheered by the public, this ‘justice as revenge’ has been condemned by the Supreme Court chief justice.

Despite all of this, the discourse has centred on women. Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao told transport workers to keep women workers away from night-shift roles —reinforcing that the onus on staying safe is on women. This is a misguided approach. It is men who should be held accountable for a problem that has everything to do with them, and nothing to do with women. That problem is a culture of misogyny, aggressiveness and normalised sexual abuse towards women for sexually violated.

To even begin an attempt to alter this, we need a robust conversation around men, which has to begin in schools, public fora and highest offices. Boys have to be taught that it’s wrong to talk disparagingly about women, feel up girls surreptitiously, make lewd remarks and leer at them. This cannot be left to parents alone.

It should be a part of the school curriculum from primary school onwards, where attitudes are shaped. For older students, gender sensitization classes and tests should be mandatory. Violence against women is so deeply rooted in India, that this sensitisation should be prioritised as much as basic reading and writing skills. Girls must be encouraged to be strong, vocal and intolerant of transgressions, however small sexually violated.

Workplaces must crack down on men who make sexualised jokes, even of the ‘water cooler’ kind. We should stop taking sexually offensive banter lightly, because it leads to a desensitisation, which starts casually and eventually normalises sexually violated.

Most importantly, public office bearers and role models need to stop blaming women for their choice of dress or work hours, because that does nothing to make India safer for women.

Instead, it emboldens male vulture behavior and robs women of their potential, by forcing them to cut short their work or leisure activities.

In the meantime, the most immediate solution is to set up a special law enforcement arm that deals with sexual offenses. India’s police force, heavily overworked, mostly desensitized and routinely pulled in different directions, can no longer be counted on to devote the time and dedication needed to deal with this deep and wide social issue.

The government must set up a special unit that recruits and trains officers specifically to deal with sexually violated offenses, and create easy access to doctors, forensic experts, rape survivors and psychologists. This will help victims feel confident in coming forward to seek justice. All registered offenses must be dealt with by this unit within a month using fast-track courts. Predators must know that justice is swift and favorable to victims. India’s approach to curbing sexual aggression must steer clear of diminishing women, and root out reckless patriarchal attitudes instead.

Resource Article: https://bit.ly/2Srgouy

Author: admin

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