A 14 year-old girl from Patil Estate slum got raped by fellow slum-dwellers last month. She was coming back home from work when the incident happened. After this incident, the slumdwellers have been afraid of sending their daughters to school…
What do you all have to say about this? “Oh yes, we hear about rape cases all the time!!”, or “Tch tch, how unfortunate!” , or “It’s a bad bad world out there!”, and even “Why did the girl venture outside ? Was she going to meet her boyfriend??”? Someone slightly angrier shall also say, “The rapist should be burnt alive, only then will people be afraid to do that!” Somebody apathetic will say, “oh, but what can we do, we are the Third Person, we can never fully comprehend or cure the situation!” In fact, I think even if all of us feel any of the other things mentioned above or not, we all shall invariably blurt the last one, “what can we do??”
Wake up guys, we are not, and never were the third persons! A crime as heinous as rape, is not a crime towards someone else, it is a crime towards the society, towards OUR society. Rape doesn’t just affect the rape victim, but it leaves a deep gash on many many others. Take the example of the Patil Estate rape, the poor girl was traumatised, at the same time, lots of other girls and their parents began to live under the constant fear of RAPE, so much that they even began forbidding their daughters from going to school! Tomorrow, if such a crime happens in your locality, you also will start being extra careful about your daughters/sisters or other female relatives! And thereby spread the most dangerous thing in this world…fear!
It is this fear that actually makes rape an ‘unavoidable crime’ in our society, about which we claim to be able to do nothing. It is this fear that makes rape an ‘irrecoverable harm’, affecting the soul, mind and character, more than the body of the victim. It is this fear that prevents us from speaking and acting openly against this disgusting display of the so-called ‘power’ of men, and the vulnerability of women against all but one attacks – attack on their so-called vulnerability!!
This is the time to wake up and realize our responsibilities friends! We need to protest!! Someone’s mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, friend, nanny, servant, teacher, and so on, gets raped, we read about it, express our ‘displeasurean disgust’ and go on with our lives. It’s high time we do more.
I am not saying that we all take law into our hands and trace and ‘punish’ the guilty. No we can’t do that, but we can do much more!! We can spread awareness about this issue, we can be brave and speak up about this issue, we can stop judging the heinousness of a rape attack on the basis of the victim’s ‘character’, we can encourage the women around us to be fearless, we can encourage the men around us to look at women with a sense of equality, we can educate our youngsters about how important respecting women is, we can stop being the viewers, and participate in eradicating violence against women, there are so many many things that we can do…
and we should do!!!!