India finally shaken out of its sloth over rape and sexual assaults

The death of the 23-year-old Delhi physiotherapy student gang-raped and brutalized by six men will hopefully act as a swift kick in Indian patriarchy’s pants and compel it to treat sexual assaults and rapes far more seriously than something so far offensively underplayed as “eve-teasing.”

Every one of the 24,000 rapes and sexual assaults reported last year is deserving of the same level of societal revulsion, outrage and collective action as the one that has finally shaken the country out of its stupor. There is complicity at all levels of Indian society and it would serve no purpose to apportion specific blame in the aftermath of the latest case.

While thinking about the revolting rise of 25 percent in the last six years, I am also grimly reminded of another societal crisis evident in the staggering number of female feticides which has pushed India towards a profoundly worrisome national sex ratio of 940 females to 1000 males. I do not have the research at my command to draw any serious inferences but in the capital city of New Delhi, where the latest crime took place, the sex ratio is an abysmal 866, which is among the worst in the country.

At the very least these figures tell us in cold statistical terms the extreme social prejudices and crimes that women have to suffer in India. I see a pattern in some six million girls “missing” between 2001 and 2011, according to the Indian census, and the indifference towards crimes against women both at the law enforcement level as well as the general public level. It might also help to remember that the same census also noted a serious decline in sex ratio in the age group up to six years with 914 girls for every 1,000 boys. Out of 35 Indian states 28 recorded a decline.

Going by the nationwide demonstration of outrage and resolve, one would like to believe that this time around the Indian nation has well and truly been shaken out of its sloth. This may well lead to the problem of rapes, sexual assaults and molestation being addressed very seriously by all stakeholders.

While legislating stronger laws and enforcing them ruthlessly is one very important part of it, it is equally important that as a society India and as a people Indians decide that they will not at all tolerate sex-related crimes at individual level. There has been any number of rape cases which takes place because of a combination of indifference and connivance at individual levels.

Once society as a whole demonstrates zero tolerance for such crimes, I am confident you would begin to see the results rather quickly. Once word gets around among those men with propensity for such crimes that they will invite instant wrath and retribution, one would begin to see a difference.

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About chutiumsulfate

South Asians can infer from my name what I am. View all posts by chutiumsulfate

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