From Dec 16th 2012, after the Delhi gang rape case that shook the conscience of the country, I have been very deeply disturbed. As much for the sexual violence that is happening but more for the repeated reiteration of the hypocrisy prevalent among us. As the nation shook…and the international media had a hay day, all and sundry were compelled to act. Corporate offices had special seminars on women’s safety…schools/colleges lead candle lights…billions danced for safety…awards were given dime to dozen for all Tom, Dick & Harry who could spell sexual assault correctly and were capable of speaking at a stretch for 30 minutes on this issue!!!
All this was happening in a way that it was highlighted adequately in the media…so practically the nation was eating, sleeping and breathing sexual assault. Not even a month had passed three sisters all between 6-11yrs went missing in Maharashtra. The police refused to file a missing case…and very condescendingly told the family to search( as if they had not already!)….no family will rush to police without doing their own enquiry. Three days later, the decomposed bodies of these three children was found in a nearby pond.
The Madhya Pradesh Police were even more creative, they went ahead and kept a 5 yr old rape victim in the lock up!!!
Delhi Police inspite of all the attention they were getting were still not ready to wake up. A 5 yr old was abducted…imprisoned in the third floor of the same building that the parents stayed. The police refused to file the missing complaint. On the third day when the same police rose from their slumber they were able to trace the child…gang raped… sadistically violated in the same building.
To me what was interesting was, when the first Delhi gang rape case was reported, Chief Minister of Delhi announced a cash compensation of 10 lakhs and the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister 15 lakhs.
Somehow none of the other cases received any offer of any compensation!!!
Just two months back, I was dealing with the rape of a 5 yr old. The Child Welfare Committee was handing this child to me for further care. What was shocking to me, all the stakeholders involved Dept of Women & Child, CWC were talking of the rape case and its details, but not a single one was interested in getting a case booked. The villagers had handed over the raped orphan child to the local anganwadi and they just handed to their superior officers!
So what is the great impact of all this visibility…and such extraordinary media attention either on the general public or the state or the stakeholders such as police or dept of women & child.
Is our basic attitude and perception changing because of this attention? Are victims getting the care and compensation they deserve as a matter of right.
Do any of the following happen:
-Police book the case as their basic duty…without any pressure from the media or public
-Dept of Women & Child or the relevant departments provide compensation as their non-negotiable departmental mandate.
-Victim have access to support in a dignified environment.
-Government evolves victim friendly policies as a matter of primary duty…not because it is nearing election time.
-Public react…no matter what…as they believe this will not be tolerated.
Finally the fundamental question is ARE WE WILLING TO ACT TO MAKE THIS SOCIETY FREE OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE? Not because media is making a lot of noise…not because it is in fashion these days…not because something pricks you momentarily….but because we believe no child…no woman…no human being deserves to be violated.