Rape of innocence

My country has gone to the DOGS, mad dogs. And it didn’t happen yesterday.

Having lived more than 35 years in India before finding work in the Gulf, I can say without exaggeration, I never felt safe in my country, except during the few years I lived in Rajkot, Gujarat.

In the past few months Delhi witnessed two violent rapes: a young girl was brutally attacked by six men in a moving bus and a FIVE-YEAR-OLD by a neighbor, just last week!indian-gang-rape-victim1

Medical reports said in the first incident the young woman’s intestines were wrenched out and a rusted iron rod was forced into her vagina during the gang rape. Can anything be more beastly?

The UN today called for “stronger and immediate action” to improve the safety of girls in India.

“The rape that took place in the past days in Delhi where a five-year-old girl is now fighting for her life, is yet another sign that urgent and concerted action is needed to make sure that girls and women in India can feel and be safe on the streets, in school, at work and at home,” UNICEF India said in a statement in New Delhi.

More than 30,000 crimes were committed against children in India in 2011, and one in three rape victims was a child, according to a recent study.

And 7,200-plus children, including infants are REPORTED raped every year.

It is not that suddenly women have lost ‘safe public spaces’ in India. I have always felt insecure when moving about alone in my home state Kerala or in my adopted home Mumbai after sunset, more so while commuting in public transport for study or work. Women are teased, pinched, groped, molested; you name it! We cannot escape being touched inappropriately or rubbed against or escape crude gestures. Flashers are a common sight in most cities. THIS IS A FACT, whether we like it or not.

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In Mumbai, when I worked as a copy editor in an afternoon newspaper, every night was a challenge. I used to pray for my safety throughout my travel back from work, mostly after 11.30pm, after my pages were done. In a deserted ladies coach of the suburban train, an armed policeman (sleepy, overworked) was my only (silent) companion, most of the nights.

This fear has become part of my being that I even used it as the underlying theme in my recently published novel ‘The Plunge: A Love Story’. Life is a struggle, and dignified life a dream, for an average Indian woman. I hope some day, and soon enough, men in my country will sense this fear in their womenfolk and fulfill their role as protectors of this gullible majority.

I am glad that want of safe public spaces in India has grabbed international attention and outrage.

But will the government ACT. When, how and how much?

The government has freshly passed a Criminal Law Ordinance to deal with sex offenders. But is that enough?

Mindset, law, enforcement, Women ONLY public spaces, active NGOs, gender-sensitive media, so much to do.

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