The gang rape of a paramedical student in Delhi has left the country in a state of shock. As people express anger and anguish at the way she was violated — she is battling for life in the ICU of a Delhi hospital — it is time to look inward. Is this nationwide outrage merely driven by an impulse, which will soon run out of steam? Do we truly respect women?
India has seen enough protests in the recent past, but things always return to square one with depressing regularity.
The Delhi rape is a brutal reminder of how women are treated in an essentially patriarchal society. Delhi may have earned the dubious distinction of being a rape capital, but women are hardly safe in other parts of the country.
More than sexual violence, rape is a powerful tool of subjugation by animal force. It is how sick minds display their strength. And, they feel they can get away with it, because (a) in most cases the victim is too scared to lodge a complaint fearing social stigma; and (b) even when a woman is bold enough to seek justice, the rate of conviction in rape cases is poor. Even policemen lack sensitivity in dealing with rape victims.
While strict laws against rape and eve-teasing, and deploying policemen on the streets are effective deterrents, real change will only come about when we change our outlook towards women. This is where the role of the family assumes greater significance. Children should be taught that women must be respected. They should learn to appreciate why women are so important in our lives, how their contributions to the family and society shape our lives.