They say that a woman is a Goddess, a homemaker and the inner wheel of every family, but the irony is that she is still unsafe, she feels insecure and changed to the societal norms. On one hand, India at the moment is at the cusp of a major transformation, and on the other hand the National Capital Territory of India is termed as the ‘Rape Capital’. The cases of rape, molestation are only rising each year. The Nirbhaya Case being the rarest of the rare cases of it’s time, reflects upon the direction in which we are moving in, which brings us to the truth, that we live in a culture that normalises rape, violence and harassment against women, and that we see violence and misogyny as an expression or part of ‘tradition’ or ‘culture’ with our everyday use of sexist language and glorification of sexual violence. With each passing day women, the reported cases of eve-teasing, sexual harassment, dowry death, domestic violence are only rising. Then there are a number of cases which do not even get reported because of the shame and the izzat quotient attached to rape.
According to National Crime Record Bureau in every 15 minutes, there is one case of rape registered, where the offender is either a friend or a member of the victim’s family. Intrafamilial rape is usually neglected by the members of the family itself and often by the parents too. One of the biggest misconceptions around rape is the “other-ing” of both the criminal and the victim- that a “certain” type of man rapes and a certain type of woman gets raped (often under “certain” circumstances). The overwhelming complicity of perpetrators in familial positions of power, or those who are known to victims, is grossly understated. This can be directly linked to poverty, illiteracy and substance abuse.
Every year, a number of campaigns and programmes are organized throughout the world to create awareness among people about the crimes that are taking place against women and also to encourage Gender Equality. These sensitization initiatives should be encouraged more and more as they can bring definite changes in the society. It is certainly important to ask certain questions in this regard, i.e. what type of people are involved in it? What is their background? Which age group they largely fall into? and Whether they are literate or illiterate?
Current initiatives like Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save Girl Child, Educate Girl Child) is a great tool for social change and a bright future. But the question which still remains is what about the daughters who were born 25 years ago in underprivileged families and who are not educated due to ignorance and poverty. They could never go to school due to questions like LADKI PADHKE KYA KAREGI, ISKI TO SHADI KARNI HAI, (why do they need education, after all, she has to get married). In today’s time these girls are living in the worst conditions and living everyday with exploitation and domestic violence by their own family members. The rate at which girls are trafficked every day, into flesh trade and sadly, it’s her parents who sell her off as have too many mouths to feed.
It is evident that the people living in slums of Delhi struggle every day for their basic sustenance which makes it difficult for them to marry off their daughters. Consequently, the unmarried girl of marriageable age becomes the victim of certain anti-social elements. In such an environment even when a girl or the family raises their voice, they will not be heard due to the izzat of the family is attached to the daughters of the family and usually, a counter argument is raised by the offenders, why can they not marry the girl if they want to protect her?