Life has become difficult in every aspect, namely, rising cost of living, made more acute by lack of sufficient employment prospects, improper medical care and wastage of agricultural products like grains rotting in government godowns, while the poor farmers who are producing them are driven to suicide due to meagre returns from their crops and starvation, and all this because of callousness and mismanagement, And corruption in every field; but the worst stain on the functioning of our nation is the increasing insecurity among the citizens, especially women in this country.
What is even more deplorable and shameful is the daily occurrence of atrocities of all sorts on women in the National Capital Region, which should really be the safest place for our women. Not one day passes nowadays without distressing news of rape, and that too, gangrape of women, with the maximum figures being of rape of poor, dalit women. According to a recent news report, Gurgaon and other places in Haryana have been witnessing a spate of rapes- as many as 15-20 rapes in a month; so much so that women in Gurgaon now dread going out of their houses, even for study or work.
Besides rape, there are many cases of domestic violence on women and dowry harassment. Figures of female foeticide and infanticide have swollen to the extent that the ratio of girls to boys in that region has become seriously imbalanced, something like 830 girls to 1000 boys. This imbalance has brought with it the grave problem of getting brides for marriage of boys, which in turn has led to a steep rise in the incidence of sexual assaults on women and cases of abduction of girls from many families in India and nearby countries like Nepal for immoral traffic.
The main reason for these atrocities is that the attitude of Indian society towards girls and women is very negative. From their birth, and nowadays, from the time of their conception, effort is made to get rid of them as they are seen as a burden and liability, aided by medical facilities provided by greedy and unscrupulous doctors for sex determination of the child before its birth, with a view to terminate the pregnancy midway to free the prospective parents and their families of a female child. Besides the lower status of females in our society because of evil customs like dowry, the scourge of rape has further accentuated the disinclination of Indians to have and bring up girls, who are also regarded as a problem because of their vulnerability to sexual exploitation.
Yet, what have our national leaders, our politicians done to reduce these offences against women? Nothing! Worse still, they are only rubbing salt into the wounds of the rape victims and their families by making irresponsible, unsympathetic and uncharitable remarks like, "Such things happen everywhere"; or more aggravating, such as," 90% of the cases of supposed rape are actually consensual, with the willingness of girls,"etc.
Honestly, statements of this kind, which undermine the gravity of sexual offenses, coming from people in high and responsible positions, including the Chief Minister of Haryana and even women like Sonia Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee, make one's blood boil.
This lack of empathy towards women on the part of our society and our politicians, who after all, are also members of the same society is very frustrating and depressing, and make all those who are interested in the welfare and uplift of girls and women feel absolutely helpless at times. Still, this is not a subject of which we can just wash our hands off, saying that there is no solution to this problem or crime, especially sexual crimes against women.
Therefore, I have pondered over this matter for a long time, and wish to present the following suggestions:
1. More prompt investigation, arrest and strict punishment to all those who are guilty of rape, irrespective of their age or social status.
2. Special fast track courts for the purpose of dealing with such cases.
3. Appointment of women police officers who need to be present during the medical examination and interrogation of victims in police stations and courts for their moral support.
4. Framing and passing of laws sanctioning the maximum punishment of death sentence for those responsible for grossly cruel cases of rape and murder of victims.
5. Castration of ' habitual ' rapists, regardless of their age.
However, I feel that to have some understanding of the psychology of rape, it is worth conducting a survey on some points, such as:
(1) Which country/ countries have the lowest and the highest incidence of rapes, and what conditions contribute to keep such cases at a minimum in those countries with a low incidence of this crime and more healthy man- woman relationship. The social status of women in those societies, as well as the general relations between the sexes therein;
(2) Whether there is any relation of the crime to the family - social and economic background of the rapists, viz. whether there was an atmosphere of domestic violence, even of a non- sexual nature, like battering of the girls and women in his family;
(3) The emotional make- up of rapists, whether they have/ had a sadistic or psychopathic bent of mind even before they started committing rape.
(4) It might also be helpful to study the psychology of the rapists, particularly habitual ones in relation to the Freudian theory of the Oedipus Complex, viz, the sort of relationship the rapists have with the women in their family, especially with their mothers and sisters; whether they has experienced any frustration and anger in relation to their mother on that account, which is being turned against females in general.
Besides investigation and punishment of rapists, more attention and importance needs to be given to the subsequent rehabilitation of rape victims in their family and in society, including Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) if the rape has led to conception, or arrangement to hand over the child to an orphanage if it is too late for MTP, to enable the victims to recover as much as possible from the trauma, physically and emotionally, and save them from social stigma, so that they're able to live as normal a life as possible, despite the shock and hurt of rape.
Finally, not only legal and police officers, and social workers, but people in our society too, should be made aware of their duty to behave kindly and understandingly towards such girls and women to help them regain their self-esteem and self- confidence to start life afresh after the tragic incident, instead of treating them as outcastes, or a ' spoiled' article to be 'written off' and dumped in some corner to mourn her fate for the rest of her life.
For each person, life is important and should not be ruined or wasted on account of one unfortunate event that was beyond the victim' s circumstances or power to avoid. Even if it may not be possible for her to get married, in some cases, for whatever reason, she can be helped to say, become financially self-sufficient, or build a career for herself to make her life worth living.
Therefore, everyone, particularly women, should deal more gently and sensitively with any such case that they may come across, instead of turning their face away from the victim, keeping in mind that she is not a sinner but sinned or outraged against.
For, the ultimate truth is that rape is one of the banes of being born as a female, that can befall any girl or woman, but for her individual luck.