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January 13, 2013

Rising Incidents of rape in India

January 10, 2013

Photo by Ramesh Lalwani

Rape is heinous, savage and traumatic which leaves lifelong scars and is a complete violation of a women’s self-respect and dignity leaving not only her permanent physically injury but also with incurable mental scars. This explains why many social scientists consider rape to be driven by the need for dominance and control of men over women.  However, evolutionary biologists are more inclined to believe that rape is more about sex than dominance and control. In either case, sex does play a role, particularly in a sexually repressed society like India where even in a protest march against rape men reportedly gazed at women in the crowd with uninvited glances.

It is in this context that the death of the rape victim who was a promising medical student at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore in the early hours on December 29th, that people are expressing popular outrage demanding capital punishment for all the accused.

There is a significant lack of any able and determined leadership in Indian from the top down. India does have it’s successes but in the case of this young woman, the Indian government failed her and has also failed women across India.  There is has been virtually no support for Indian women from any of our national political leaders or from powerful organizations like Trade Unions, Students Unions or social and religious organizations. Since public memory happens to be very short, the initial shock has now subsided which is unfortunate.

However, steps may be considered for effective safeguards for the security of women as well as for investigation that should convict those who are guilty of this heinous crime.

Attitudes must Change

Attitudes must change must change in Indian society. There is a deeply entrenched attitude towards women in Indian society. In other words, there is a feeling of male superiority over women. Many Indian men believe that are more superior to women. That needs to be immediately removed from our age-old and traditional mind-set.

Morality

An emphasis on morality must be made in the public discourse, reviving a spiritual and cultural environment, particularly, highlighting respect and honor for women, and for girls. Education must include compulsory physical education like physical defense classes for women in all walks of life.  There must be an effective prosecution and trial of those involved. If the need arises, fast track the trial and punishment of the men if found guilty.  Indian women and men must know that people will be held accountable.

Level the Playing Field

Women’s forum must be established at all levels for dealing exclusively with women’s issues where women can discuss their problems and may seek solutions for redress, thereby enhancing their self-confidence and also motivating them to work for resolutions.

Employment Opportunities

An effort must be made to incorporate women in the work force both in the public and private sector and also in the political system at all levels which will not only make women socio-economically powerful but also elevate their status in the male dominated Indian society.

Counseling Services

The Indian government must establish rape counseling centers at universities and colleges to encourage rape victims to report such incidents and provide help for police in the investigations.  Countless rapes go unreported and this must stop.  These centres can also provide expert legal counseling to the victims by restoring their self-confidence and self-esteem by eleminating the social stigma attached to such incidents.

It is doubtful that incidents of rape will be entirely prevented but the Indian government owes the young women who died this much.  Every effort must be made to ensure that this does not happen in the future.

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