Karen Hawkins said “It is often thought wrong women have to stay at home when there’s a war to be won. But if a woman has the strength to bear a child, then she can swing a sword as well as any man” The time of looking away from problems has passes. The silence on violence against women has been broken and now is the time for stronger action.
It is time for action when up to 70 per cent of women in some countries face physical or sexual violence, when one in three girls in developing countries is likely to be married as a child, when millions of women and girls are trafficked in modern-day slavery, and when a women’s body is thought to be a battleground and rape, used as a tactic of war. There is a lot of disrespect for women everywhere. And it’s not only about the rapes and murders, a girl goes through harassment every day. It’s happening every minute and nobody is bothered about it. India still experiences the brutal blueprint of female foeticide and dowry.
And the worst part, the culprits are not scared of the law. As somebody has said, girls in India are neither safe inside nor outside it. It’s been one year since the NIRBHAYA incident and where do we stand? Our government has supposedly done a lot. Death penalty or severe life imprisonment for a rape cum murder convict. Stalking women has become a non-bail able offence. Acid throwing and can get the convict 10 yrs. of jail. A fast pace trial and 6 fast-track courts for disposal of sexual offence cases. A sum of ? 1000 cr kept aside to ensure safety of women in public places.
But sadly, like every other thing in India, these too will not see the light of the day. These laws have been made for sure, but none of them have been implemented. And how do we know this? Because even right now a girl is being harassed and tortured in our country. Violence against women and girls is an extreme manifestation of gender inequality and systemic gender-based discrimination. The right of women and children to live free of violence depends on the protection of their human rights, a strong chain of justice and help from NGO’s and Women ; Children Organization.
A rape survivor must have rapid access to a health clinic that can administer emergency medical care, including treatment to prevent HIV and unintended pregnancies and counseling. A victim of violence must have confidence that when she files a police report, she will receive justice and the perpetrator will be punished. Not only this, just as charity begins at home, safeguarding the rights of women must begin at home too. All the men in the house must respect the women of the house. Children should be taught about sexuality and all the gender related stereotypes must be diminished from their minds.
Girls should be encouraged to stand up for themselves and lead an independent life. This call of women around the world to break the cycle of violence and to protect the rights of women and girls comes down to 4 P’s – Protection of human rights, Prosecution of offenders, Prevention of violence, Provision of Services to survivors. Strong and stringent laws are definitely necessary, but the actual need of the hour is a revolutionary change in the mindsets of Indian men so that they stop seeing women as objects of sexual pleasure. Thank you.