I have a confession. I confess that every time there is a story on yet another rape in India, I hide. I hide because it gives me chills. I hide because it brings me shame. I hide because it takes me to a place of immense anger, grinding teeth, and dry tears. It makes me go to a place where I want to pick up the same metal rod and stick it incessantly into each of those 6 criminals. Sitting thousands of miles away, I feel the angst of every individual who is protesting against this inhumane crime. We know about the burning alive of the Jordanian pilot by ISIS, about the undeletable holocaust in Germany, and the slaves of Dubai. These rapes, the cruel intentions, and the unfathomable activities are in no measure, any less.
Coming from a Quality background and with a mind that is trained to do a 5 WHY analysis, I have been searching for a root cause.
Is it the mentality that men are far more superior than women? If it is, then I don’t understand why a lot of goddesses are put up so high on a pedestal and worshipped! We are the country of many goddesses – Durga for power, Sarasvati for education, and Laxmi for prosperity but when you zoom in, we are the same country where many women are forced to get an abortion immediately after the ultrasound. The woman is impregnated again and again and yet again until a boy is born. Watch the movie ‘Bol’ and you will shake for a few hours.
May be what you see is what you become? On a conscious level, and even on a sub-conscious level, we learn from our surroundings and our surroundings start with our home. Home, where a little boy sees his father coming home drunk and beating up his mom. Home, where mother-in-laws join forces against a member of their own species. Home, where a large sum of dowry has to be delivered to marry off a girl. Sure, the law enforcement has prevented people from using the official word ‘dowry’ but the practice is very much active.
Is it perhaps the taboo? A boy & a girl can never be friends so keep them segregated, unacquainted, and un-united? Let the minds be curious and let the lust maximize?
Is it the education or lack thereof, because I just read that AP Singh, a well-educated lawyer involved in the case made a comment about setting his daughter on fire if she were to be engaged in pre-marital activities? This raises 2 questions in my mind – why wouldn’t the sons / brothers engaged in pre-marital activities be also set on fire? And, what is then the impact of education? With an outrage that followed the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case, a slight shift in the education system should be a public demand – classes on self-defense, classes on domestic violence, classes on women rights.
We carry the burden of being a part of a society where the practice of Sati was common, expected, and justified. We have traveled so far and we have a long journey ahead of us. I have heard the complaints, I have read the rants, and I have seen the outrage. It’s now time to become part of the same society to clean it up.
So what can we do? Not the ‘we’ that means the Indian government, Modi administration, and the Judiciary system; ‘We’ that consists of you & I. Here are some of my thoughts:
Women should spend some time and take self-defense classes to learn striking & combat techniques that will help in self-protection. There are workshops available for the ‘DARE’ program – Defense Against Rape & Eve teasers. Free options are also widely available – just go to YouTube and type ‘self-defense for rape’ for free online videos.
Don’t just leave the house in a hurry – think and think it all through. Carry a few self-protection items in your purse – pepper spray, Swiss knife, or perhaps a screwdriver.
STAY IN & STAY COVERED
It is unfair to ask women to stay in at night and sacrifice a bit of their freedom but unfortunately, at this time it would be a smart move. Stay in & stay safe. We have heard shorts are revealing, skirts are inviting, and jeans are basically just asking for it. Forgive me for I have no combinations of words for this particular one!
Encourage your sons, brothers, and friends to be braver than the bravest they’ve ever been. We need more men on our side – men who respect women, men with integrity, and the non-psycho’s. We need the Indian Army to safeguard our borders, but we also need a massive army to safeguard women within the borders.
Only a small percentage of my Facebook friends will read this blog. After an initial awe, be it awesome or awful, everyone would move on to the next article, to their next selfie. What we need is an influential voice. If you are popular in your network, use it to an advantage, for the superior good. I applaud Kalki Koechlin who was one of the first ones to voice a strong opinion on the subject. Javed Akhtar, Jaya Bachhan, and several others are now thankfully raising havoc as well. We need that!
The change is slow but the change is happening. It is happening with BBC’s ‘India’s Daughter,’ with an angry Kirron Kher, and with you reading this blog.
Not all is bad. There is also good in the mix. I read this article and it brought a smile on my face: There is a small village in Rajasthan where they plant 111 trees every time a girl is born.
For me, I don’t want to stop here. I am going to India and preparing to donate pepper sprays to 100 women. I will push my young nieces to get enrolled in the Krav Maga classes. I will educate my nephews on how to be real men. And I will not be shy in writing my opinion.
Photo courtesy: The Indian Express