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A painful wake-up call

The year 2012 ended on a very grim note for India as a whole. There is grief that still engulfs the entire nation. That too at a time when we are to retrospect, think, resolve, thank or change if need be. The frightening story of the gang-rape on the 23-year-old woman at Delhi has left any sane citizen of the country, scared, disturbed and confused.
It is not like rape has never happened before, or that crime against women is anything new. But the severity with which the story surfaced has left us all shaken. There has been an outcry on the issue like never before. We know for sure that the majority of us have been deeply affected by the incident. What kind of human really inflicts so much cruelty and terror on another human being? The gang-rape story has left us all baffled. What has gone so wrong with our upbringing and our system of education, at home, at school or at the social level? Is it because our parents, our teachers, our social and religious leaders, our politicians, our law makers, and all those who come together in moulding the nation have not done enough to instil the right mindset in the generations that come one after the other, and eventually take the lead some way or the other? I come across top politicians and leaders of the country making unconscionable remarks on the issue of rape, trying to infer that any woman victim has brought it upon herself. Now, when those who are highly placed in such positions are stuck with such mindsets, then the future for the womenfolk in the country only grows dimmer and dimmer. Nothing outrages me more than comments that hint at women’s way of dressing when it comes to the issue of rape. Why, even a four year old is not spared. One is at a loss for words and thoughts at such an inhuman and unbelievable act. The truth is safety for women as a whole has long been an issue of debate. But more than the discourse that ensues, it is a battle that women across India fight everyday. Crime against women is a fear that every concerned parent, friend or family has for his/her daughter and female counterpart because our women have never really felt safe in their own homeland. What is freedom that a nation claims to have if it cannot provide for its citizens the most crucial part of being free, which is to be free from fear? The dreadful and most shocking gang-rape of the woman who died from the severe injuries has generated more fear for the people of this country. And this is especially true for women who have hoped more than once that something as outrageous and terrible like rape would no longer have to fit into news headlines. Ironically and even more frighteningly it seems to me cases of rape have only very sharply increased after the gang-rape at Delhi despite all the outcry and condemnation resulting from it. We, as a nation, need a serious intervention to stop, or at least push perpetrators to think ten times before committing rape. From where I stand, it looks like the battle ahead is going to be a whole lot tougher, but if the issue of rape is not immediately addressed and given the attention it has long deserved, then India will continue to shame itself as a country.


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