India is a country of cultural and traditional ethics. Over the years, it has marked tremendous achievements. It is well known for its military power, and it is one of the dominant countries in the world. India has developed, and it’s rising ever since independence, but one issue which runs parallel against its development is the concern of women’s safety in INDIA.
In 2015, there were over 3,25,000 cases of violence against women. In that year, there were more than 1,50,000 cases of violence against women pending for investigation and over 10,00,000 pending trails. According to NCRB, in 2018, India reported over 33,500 rapes against women, which means a rape per 15 minutes! Numbers that leaves everyone shocked. In India, women mostly face violence in their private sphere. They are harassed, molested, raped, and face domestic violence. The concern for women’s safety in India took hype after the inhuman Delhi RAPE Case, 2012. Since then, Media houses, activists, NGOs, and the society as a whole, actively began to raise concern and awareness about women’s safety in India.
But how far have we improved? Why is there an increase in rapes against women? What are the steps by the governments to ensure women’s safety in India? In this piece of blog, we will bring you the knowledge about these questions and the steps we can take to improve women’s safety in India.
WHY RAPES IN INDIA: THREAT TO WOMEN’S SAFETY IN INDIA
In actual terms, no reason is ever valid to violence against women. We can not justify any act which is against someone’s rights. Any violence against women happens when the perpetrator becomes wild and immoral, as he lacks moral knowledge and ethos. This corner doesn’t seek to justify but tries to show what boosts and triggers the cases of violence.
- INDIA’S PATRIARCHY
India is a patriarchy, which favors the male counterpart on the grounds of sexual domination, opportunities, and sex ratio. In most of the states, parents prefer a male child for their future financial security and consider women as a burden. It brings us to nowhere but a mere sex ratio of 0.924(924 females per 1000 males). This difference undermines their rights and potential to which they can contribute. The misogynistic mindset leads to the types of VIOLENCE where the man wants to prove the domination through sexual assault and harassment.
- INDIA’S RAPE CULTURE
In INDIA, there is a conservative idea of RAPE CULTURE. Rape culture is a society that justifies and normalizes rapes and blames the victim for attracting the perpetrator. In simple words, it says- “DON’T GET RAPED” rather than saying- “DON’T RAPE”. They say the girls wear shorts to get raped and later, for revenge, files the complaint to backlash. The victim often doesn’t file a complaint as she feels insecure about her reputation. A rape culture gives birth to many such Inhumans who disguise under the curtains of victim-blaming. This ideology is a big question mark on the new generation whether they carry this ignoble ideas or instigate a revolutionary idea about women’s safety in INDIA?
- PERPETRATORS BACKED BY POLITICIANS AND POLICE
Many times, the politicians and police support the accused and try to close the case. In these types of cases, the accused gets bail or acquitted due to lack of evidence, or the victim’s family is pressurized to take the statement back. A very recent example is the Hathras Rape, where the authorities were pressurizing the victim’s family. Sometimes, the cases also go unreported. It exposes the loopholes in INDIA’s police and political mechanism. It not only lets a criminal walk freely but erases the fear.
- THE INEFFICIENT JUDICIAL SYSTEM
India’s judicial system is yet to decide a better punishment for rapists. The DELHI’s NIRBHAYA CASE(2012), a shame on the judicial structure of India as she got justice after seven years(in 2020). It exposed the flaws in our judicial system, and many victims pull back themselves as they realize this system is too dull to serve them justice and that they will have to reminisce about the painful incident. It is one of the causes that women don’t report violence against them.
- THE PORN EFFECT – IMPACT OF PORNOGRAPHY
“Porn prevents rape” -a popular myth that has become a part of this digitally-driven society. Porn harms most of its consumers; studies show that the people who watch rape-centric pornography are more vulnerable to commit rape. The people who prefer sadomasochistic porn tend to involve in sexual violence and harassment, but comparatively less. Porn views women as sex objects. It instigates the idea of rape culture; men perceive sex and rape equal. It undermines the dignity and consent of the women.
These psychological effects doesn’t mean that everyone who watches porn is likely to commit rape, but it adds a dimension to reconstruct the idea of porn.
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STEPS BY POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS: WOMEN’S SAFETY IN INDIA
- After Delhi’s Nirbhaya case, the government proposed a new-anti-rape law that extends the definition of rape to any non-consensual, penetrative sexual activity.
- In 2013, the government set up a three-digit helpline number, exclusively for women. The government installed more GPS in PUBLIC TRANSPORTS.
- The PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL OFFENCES ACT (POCSO), 2012, was brought in with immediate effect.
- In 2018, the government amended POCSO and extended the punishment for the rape of a minor girl to 20 years. The amendment proposes a fast track judgment for rape cases.
- EMERGENCY RESPONSE SUPPORT SYSTEM – It proposed three improvements – first, an internationally recognized helpline number-based system, with the computer-aided dispatch of field resources. Second, technology to aid smart policing and safety management. Third, the cyber-crime portal to report obscene content.
*These were the noticeable reforms, there may be more such reforms which ain’t listed here.*
REFORMS INDIA NEEDS FOR WOMEN’S SAFETY: HOW TO REDUCE RAPES?
- GRADUAL SOLUTIONS: IMPACTFUL CHANGES
- EDUCATION-AWARENESS: The current education system is not apt to increase the awareness of women’s safety in India. We don’t have textbooks that cultivate the idea of homogeneity and liberation within genders. The lessons must include the values of dignity, anger management, gender equality, sexual violence, and the changes in adolescence with more emphasis and practical impact. The adolescents must know the difference between rapes and sex; and the importance of asking for consent. There must be lessons on women safety and empowerment to nurture a healthy society.
- FAST-TRACK COURTS- Fast-track courts with separate infrastructures to facilitate speedy justice. The Court must work with NGOs, Women-empowerment groups, and other institutions to make new laws and amend them as the old system doesn’t seem to improve the women’s safety in India. It must be federal with SC as its head and each district/state as subsidiaries.
- SEPERATE INVESTIGATION BODY- The investigation agencies must be transparent, and most of the offices must hold women officers. It will reduce the impact of politicians. The investigation agencies will come under the courts and associated institutions to verify honesty and transparency in the process.
- REVAMP THE POLICE- India is mostly unsafe due to a lack of police. There are only 198 police officers per 100,000 people, which must be increased by constant recruitments. There should be 40-50% of reserved seats for women officers in police. Roadside police stations and the density must increase to ensure women’s safety in India.
- LEARN ABOUT HOW MEDIA DISPLAYS VIOLENCE: Many movies, and tv serials portray harassment, but they don’t educate the real picture of the violence against women. We mostly overlook these moments, but they can leave deep imprints in the young minds.
2. IMMEDIATE CHANGES:
- ENCOURAGE THE VICTIMS TO REPORT THE CASE- We can come together to support the victims, stand with them to report against the criminals. The victims must be protected and their rights must be reserved, so that no one insults them. This will also help to improve anti-rape laws
- CCTV, GPS, and more PUBLIC TRANSPORTS installation – Installation of a new body under SAFETY MANAGEMENT to ensure proper safeguard of all the citizens, aided with CCTV and GPS trackers.
- INCREASE THE PUNISHMENT – Indian law must take rapes and sexual assault as a heinous and intolerant crime. The law must guarantee an immediate death penalty for criminals above 14 years. The strict punishments won’t offer a rape-free society but can potentially decrease the statistics.
- NEWS HOUSES- The news houses can easily manipulate us; the spicy headlines they publish, the heated debates they anchor; everything can divert our ideas and opinions. Again, here we will have to choose the kind of news we must prefer. If we’d watch irrelevant headlines, then they will show us the same. We can speak up against this hypocrisy and seek improvement.
THE LEAST WE CAN DO: THE CONCLUSION
As mentioned earlier, India has a rape culture that sees rapes and domestic violence through the lens of the accused. It blames the victim for attracting the perpetrator. Here, it is to blame ourselves as we don’t educate the people with these false conservative norms. We stay silent and ignore these ideas. The youth must step in to reform and bring revolutionary ideas. We can use our flashy social handles not only to report the cases and sympathize with the victim but talk about the root causes of the lack of women’s safety in India.
How many of us demand the political parties to prioritize women’s safety? How many times this issue is listed in their ‘cheesy’ manifestos? We never focus on these things, we wish a lot but never demand. The political parties are keen to distribute freebies but can’t ensure women’s safety in INDIA. This hypocrisy must be abolished with immediate effect.
The willingness to report rapes have increased in recent years, after several incidents received widespread media attention and triggered local and nationwide public protests. It led the government to reform its penal code for crimes of rape and sexual assault. If we try to raise voices against these heinous practices, we can surely bring the change.
We must not divide roles between the genders, we can not state the role differences as natural. We as a society must let the new generations free to decide whatever they want to do, which role they want to opt. We should open up their minds and give all of them equal chances.
In INDIA, a woman is seen as a mother, sister, daughter, wife, but not as a woman. We define her domestic roles but never define her as a woman; we define her limits but not her potential. We say she is fragile and soft as we forget the mental and physical pain she bears. It was, it is, and it will remain a high time where we as a society will have to educate, empower and support women’s safety in INDIA till every woman feels safe.