No woman is safe from the threat of rape in India. The situation is slipping from bad to worse. And before this country becomes uninhabitable for women, some very strong and urgent steps need to be taken. But the question is, who will take some tough calls? Our politicians don’t care — no surprises there for many of those sitting in Parliament and state Assemblies are criminals themselves. The human rights groups step in only to gain some cheap popularity, and the candlelight brigade gets a few pictures clicked and carry on with their lives. No one cares enough.
Unfortunately, the mindset of most men in this country is that every woman wants/needs sex and “who better than me to provide that”. This attitude needs to be changed. Our Prime Minister has coined the “Beti Bachao Beti Padao” slogan but says nothing on “Beti ki izzat bachao”. It’s time the Prime Minister took the lead to enact some strict anti-rape laws. Over 50 per cent rapes go unreported in this country, especially in rural areas. Victims don’t speak up fearing social stigma. And if someone does come forward, police officials are reluctant to register a complaint. The general attitude is, either the complainant is lying or she must have given her consent. Yes, there’s no denying that some women lodge false complaints for personal gains or vendetta. But the definition of rape is very clear — it definitely does not mean consensual sex.
Rape is a heinous crime and needs to be dealt with strictly. Why does it take years for the victim to get justice or for rapists to get caught? And, god forbid, if the rapist is well-connected, the entire system comes forward to protect him? Why can’t law take its course in each and every case?
We need to give the right value system to our children, especially sons, right from the start, beginning at home. Schools need to educate children about respecting the wishes of other human beings. Besides, we need long-term solutions to control the growing menace, not kneejerk and short-term remedies that are restricted to individual issues. Initiatives like plying buses or the police dropping women home at night won’t yield many results. The police won’t have enough woman officials and vehicles to carry out such initiatives. Such solutions, besides not being long term, could be implemented only in cities. What about women in the villages?
A more effective solution will be, say, reducing the juvenile age to 12 or 13 years. The current generation is sexually more aware because of technology. Lest they attempt something awful, they need to be made aware that they can’t get away with it. The punishment should be quick and exemplary. We can no longer wait for things to happen at their own pace. Our girls are being raped almost every day. It’s high time the government paid heed and framed strict laws and save our daughters.
— The writer is a retired IPS officer
What should the police do?
- Sensitise officials to the crime. Be compassionate to the victim, don’t cause more agony
- Register the case without delay. Get the medical done immediately
- Start the investigation immediately without any external pressures
- Each district should have a dedicated all-women investigation team, headed by a senior lady officer. It should swing into action right away.
- Discard primitive methods of investigation, use a scientific approach
- Police should intensify patrolling in deserted areas after the sunset
- Functional helplines with zero response time and reaction squads should be in place.
- Awareness camps/self-defence coaching classes be organised
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