New Delhi: The horrors of that dreadful night still haunts ‘India’s daughters’! Yes, 8 years back, on the cold winter night of December 16, India witnessed the most abhorrent crime that jolted us out of our collective complacency. A 23-year-old paramedical student was gang-raped in a moving bus in Delhi and thrown out of the vehicle after being severely assaulted. She died on December 29, 2012, at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.Also Read - After Losing in Gambling, Man Allows Friends to Rape Wife, Pours Acid to Purify Her | FIR Registered
As we remember ‘Nirbhaya’ and thousands like her, we are forced to ask ‘has anything changed’? Sadly, the answer is no. This year was nothing different as India witnessed a spate of similar horrendous rapes including the Hathras gangrape. Not a single day passes by when we don’t get to hear without sordid tales of women harassed, assaulted, raped or killed in many parts of India.
In all honesty, the only reason we outraged so much was because of the savagery involved in the crime, else we wouldn’t even have bothered because instances of rape have become the new ‘normal’ and are reduced to just another statistic. Nevertheless, all these rape cases sparked nationwide protests, candle light marches and Twitter trends, but the subsequent politicisation and belittling of these awful crimes made it clear that we don’t care about our women.
Just in the span of a year, India’s capital city, has witnessed as many as 1,429 cases of rape till October. These are just the official figures, we wonder how many cases of rape end up not getting reported due to the stigma and shame this society places on a woman’s ‘izzat’. Not to forget how such cases gets dragged on for years in the court, still conviction rates remain so low in the end despite stringent anti-rape laws. Sadly, many women are still fighting for justice.
As per the recent National Crime Records Bureau data, the conviction rate for rape cases remained at 27.8 per cent in 2019. Out of a total of 1,62,741 rape cases which went to trial in 2019, the court convicted people in only 4,640 cases. More so, government data from last year also shows that a number of states have not even utilised the Nirbhaya Fund that is meant for the safety of women. Does anyone care?
Women still aren’t safe and live in fear
It’s 2020, but women are just as vulnerable as before and their daily lives are still ruled by fear. We are still scared whenever we have to step outside at night, shivers go down our spine whenever there is a shadow lurking on the streets and even taking a walk alone at night seems to be a far-fetched dream. At a time when young boys and men should be taught gender sensitivity, women are instead bombarded with plethora of advices on ‘how to not get raped’.
Notice all those awful WhatsApp chats? The sexist jokes and jibes haven’t stopped and the ‘rape culture’ in India is well thriving, thanks to patriarchy, the epidemic which has been eating away at our society for thousands of years. Every time, a woman asserts her independence and voices her opinions on social media, she is abused and threatened with rape endlessly. How can women prosper in such environment?
A permanent change can only come when people’s mindset and misogynist attitudes are questioned. Unless boys and men are taught to respect women from an early age and the criminal justice system is completely overhauled, there isn’t a bright future for ‘India’s daughters’. Most importantly, it is men who need to be our allies in this fight for ‘equality, justice and safety’.
(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of India.com. The writer is solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article)