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Do we exist as a society? PDF Print Email

Yesterday while on my way to office, I received a call from a young girl who was very distraught and asked for my help. She then narrated how she was molested a day before on the busy streets of Delhi while on her way to work. When she protested, the accused slapped her and beat her up in full public view. There were 150-200 spectators to this scene but none came forward to help her in any way. In fact no one even bothered to call 100. When the accused had beaten her enough, she was left battered on the road. Somehow she managed to reach home and called the police for help. What happened at the police station is another story. Taking the apathetic attitude of the society forward, she encountered the same insensitivity and apathy at the police station level. Finally I had to intervene to get her what was due to her as a matter of right. A Right to take recourse in law and a right to life and liberty.

This is just one of the incidents that happen on the streets of Delhi or shall we say the world every day. In this scenario, is there any wonder why we need a campaign “save the girl child”?

Who is responsible for this state of being? The easy answer is ofcourse the civil society! All crime against women are after all social crimes!

It is just so easy to blame the civil society for what ails our society because in saying so we take recourse in blaming a faceless society. No face, no blame and thus no shame!

Is it not time that each one of us take responsibility as an individual as a member of our family, community and society for the state of being in which we are today?

It is time for introspection: am I responsible enough? Am I reactive at all to what happens around me? Have I ever responded to a cry of a woman? Do I really want any change in the present? Do I understand and believe that a woman needs to be treated humanely? That they deserve to have human rights too?

Till we reach that stage where each one of the members of this faceless and conscious less society give it a face and a conscious, there is nothing much that can be done to change the current scenario where the voices of change remain confined to few seminars here and there.

A lot has been done and is being done on the outside for many years, be it the reforms in the law, various welfare measures and what not but the systematic decay of the society will continue until and unless we stand up as individuals, groups, communities and then as a nation to say NO to violence against the vulnerable in the society.

Why don’t we want our daughters to be born? Ask that to the father of the girl who gets molested on busy roads and none comes forward, who has to wait endlessly for justice while facing veiled threats on what can become of a single young women if she pursue her complaint. Ask that to the one whose daughter is not safe at home, on streets, in school, at workplace and you will get an answer. By the way, I salute this young woman for her courage and conviction.

When we talk about women empowerment we always talk about positive discrimination, the constitution, the directive principles, the special legislations and what not. But when it comes to implementation of what is enshrined in our books there is no will on the face of financial commitments for enforcing this positive discrimination. Our schools still lag basic requirements such as girls toilets what to speak of other issues. What about working women and girl students? How many secure safe hostels/ living spaces are available? What about the public transport which is tearing at its seams? And personally how often we support our subordinate, boss, colleague because she is on family way? Oh she has become non-productive. I wish I had a male subordinate at least I will not have to sanction maternity leave! And this is while she is nurturing another being (a child) to be a productive member of this very society? A work biologically only confined to her?

Ladies and gentlemen, laws are not enough on their own to make the changes we want until and unless we as a whole stand up and say NO to violence against women.

Suman Nalwa
19th Oct 2012