Mujhe Jeena Hai

I am sick of reading about the social outcry on the Delhi gang-rape victim case. No, it's not that i do not empathise with her. Every time i recollect her statement, “Mujhe jeena hai..”, it brings a fresh flurry of tears in my eyes. However, this fatal gang-rape incidence in the heart of our capital had to occur for people to sit up and take notice.

Every one will condemn this heinous act and everyone wants the culprits to be bobbitised or be hanged to death. The candle light vigils and protests with banners carrying witty slogans in english will be paraded, celebrities will make comments and urge the government and public to act, Facebook, Twitter and blogs will be flooded with statuses, updates and articles on the same, again condemning the injustice ... expressing anger... and so on. A new bill will be drafted and it will take months before it goes on the floor in the Parliament to be passed as a law. Eventually, the issue at hand will lose momentum and then just like that we all will forget and move on with our lives. We care only as long as it retains our interest. Public memory is fickle and weak. This is the very reason why the politicians get away with crimes that they do. This is the very reason why our Government acts as slow as a 150 year old turtle.

Atrocities against women are committed every day around different parts of the country and not just Delhi (newly termed as the rape capital of the country). The survivors of these incidences maybe educated, uneducated, adults, minors, disabled, mentally unstable, senior citizens, married, unmarried, straight, lesbian, beautiful, ugly, fully clothed or unclothed.. it doesn't matter. They all have an equal chance of being raped. It saddens me to acknowledge the fact that women may not be safe even with their own families.

 Almost every girl i know has suffered some form of sexual abuse in her childhood or adolescent years. It's appalling to say the least but we don't talk about it. It is shameful for some odd reason to acknowledge that this happens. Today, if i go and tell any one of my family members that some man tried squeezing my breasts in a crowded railway station in the morning, they will not unsheath a sword and cry foul but sure as hell they will ask me to wear proper clothes and always travel with company or if they are paranoid enough they will start monitoring my outings and drop me where ever i "need" to go. Basically, my freedom of movement and dressing will be impinged.

Instead of going through this trauma, we'd prefer to ignore, bear the agony of being violated and move on with our lives in absolute silence. When we confide in our fellow girl friends, they'll feel sorry for us, hurl unmentionable words at the male gender and then console you, "Girl, it happens. Be careful next time but there's nothing we can do about it." The number of rape and molestation cases being reported are on the rise but there are countless others who suffer in silence and will never see the light of the day. 

Why should the victim be ostracized and shunned from Society? Why should she live a life of harassment and shame when it should be the perpetrator whose life should be a living hell? Once a sex offender, always a sex  offender and one of us may be victimised the next time around. Do we want to hang them to death? Do we want them live to recount their sins and repent for the rest of their lives? May be we should  tattoo "I am a rapist",  on their foreheads and subject them to public flogging? I don't know if this is the solution but i do know what we as responsible citizens can do.

Empower Women.

Teach them to look them in the eye and threaten potential offenders instead of living in fear and running away. Send your daughters to self-defence classes and ask her to carry a pepper spray with her at all times. Treat her like you would treat your son. Marriage is not the ultimate aim of a woman's life. Educate her not to make her an eligible candidate for a prospective groom but to arm her with arsenal to lead an independent life.

Let's talk about Sex.

Every one does it then why do we have to talk about it in hushed tones? What is the big deal about virginity? When a highly educated double graduate has virginity as a criteria for marriage, we need to question our "education". Maybe, if we were more liberal, the stigma attached to being a rape victim will be eased.

Stop objectifying women.

The Chikni Chamelis and Badnaam Munnis of Indian cinema have successfully captured the attention of pop culture but at what cost? A woman falls in love with her rapist and ends up eloping with him; what kind of Ishaq is this? A girl who drinks, parties and enjoys life is going to be left alone because the boy wants to settle with a modest conventional girl who does pooja everyday; what kind of a Cocktail is that? Films are a reflection of Society and what kind of a reflection do you see?

The Delhi gang rape highlights our failure as a Society and we'd love to make an example out of it to soothe our rattled consciousness. We can hang them to death right away but does that solve our problems? These problems are so deep rooted that they can not be weeded out in a week's time. It's a movement and it requires a sincere long term effort and commitment not just by the law enforcement or the government but by every citizen of this country. If we want our children to live in a world that is beautiful, happy and just then we have to build it for them.