Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gang-rape in Delhi: Disgusting and Disappointing

Delhi is the best place in the world for me but one thing that keeps me away from it is general disrespect for women in the city. Recently, in the capital city of the biggest democracy of the world, a young woman was raped by 6 men and is fighting for life. The victim is a 23 year old medical student, who happened to be with a male friend on the roads of New Delhi late evening.

The men, including the bus driver Ram Singh, had taken out the bus for a joy ride on Sunday evening. They spotted the student and her friend at the Munirka bus stop in south Delhi and called out to them saying the bus was headed to Dwarka, where the woman lives.

On the bus, the sources said, an argument began when the accused asked the man what he was doing with a young woman at that time of the night. The police sources said because she fought back hard, the assailants decided to "teach her a lesson". {Source: NDTV, Dec. 18 2012 (http://www.ndtv.com/article/cities/delhi-gang-rape-rapists-wanted-to-teach-girl-a-lesson-say-police-sources-306918?pfrom=home-lateststories)}

Needless to say, general public in the country, particularly women and human rights activists are outraged and are demanding action from the administration.

Yes, Delhi Police needs to be way more proactive in protecting women. As per the recent reports from Aaj Tak, security situation for women on the roads of Delhi is still questionable. I am not sure what is the administration waiting for? Maybe the fact that Delhi tops in rapes in the country is not sufficient for them to take an action. Or let's give them benefit of doubt, maybe they don't have enough trained personnel to make the capital of the country safe for women. 

Or is it about willingness or lack thereof? Does it make sense for Delhi to be safe enough for girls be out on the road late at night? What would be the implication on the girls and their families in general? What if girls would actually feel freer and more independent? What about the control that their elders have on them? Change in the situation requires a true reflection on our system. 

That question takes us to the culture… I do feel that this problem is beyond law enforcement. Our culture plays a big part in the situation. In my country girls are worshipped as goddesses but in the same land, many girls are just 'less than equal' members of the family. There is an unwritten but a well known rule that it is the girl's responsibility to protect herself by staying inside the house after dark and wearing 'decent' clothes. 

Woman's honor is so big that it is connected to the honor of the whole family and yet it is so fragile that it can be ruined by anybody inside or outside the family! With due to respect to those families where women of the family have equal rights and respect, most of our women do not feel equal or independent. 

Yes, things are changing with education but a lot needs to change. General perception around independent girls need to change and law enforcement needs to be much stricter for those who abuse women. It is ok to trust that women can handle their independence and their independence does not attack the honor of any family or society! 

Delhi, my beloved, stop pretending that you support equality for women, embrace it! How will you progress by treating a key constituent with disrespect and contempt. Protect your own honor by honoring your women!  


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