What now?

The gang rape victim has died but not before shaking us from slumber. Frankly, I have no right or expertise to lecture any girl on safety issues. But isn’t it surprising that girl’s self-defence training is not even in discussion topics of most families. Male members assert their right and duty to protect the females by accompanying them out a few times and restricting their movement in general. Housewives anyway have a million problems everyday so they don’t want to add another by worrying about daughters.
The fearsome situation is not going to improve in next many years. So, here are a few suggestive ideas which can add to personal safety a little bit.

1. We should accept that such a problem exists and our vulnerabilities can be reduced by making ourselves better prepared. Why is it that even in Delhi, very few girls participate in the self defence exercises? Why is it that NGOs, informal association (kitty party groups?) cannot rope in trainers to have some basic training for girls. Girls spend months learning dance for cousin’s marriages. Why not some basic defence techniques? It is true that one might not overcome heavily built men with it, but who knows, a little trick might save a life one day. And it will certainly give a lot of confidence which will prevent from panicking in crucial time. And since it is a matter of life and death, I don’t understand the apathy that we show.

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2. Girls should get a protection kit (pepper spray, small pointed knife, a whistle to raise alarm). I read that if the girl confidently speaks out loud or show initial signs of stiff resistance, most of assailers would turn away to look for easier targets. I understand that it is so draggy to remember keep all this stuff every time one steps out. Especially when it has not happened with us yet and is statistically, a rarity. But then, robbery seldom happens while we have to lock our doors all the time.

3. There should be a personal standard operating procedure when girls travel late. This would include texting the number of auto to some friend who can track you while you reach back safely. Keeping a watchful eye all the time (stalkers, potential help) and holding your belonging close to avoid snatching. I follow these myself!

4. Demand proper street lighting and CCTV cameras from municipal corporation/council.

5. Please help when you find someone in this kind of trouble. Often passers do not help the victims to avoid becoming official eye-witness. I understand it can be really troublesome given the fact that the victim (this time) was not our daughter.

6. Finally, every mother should try to make their sons a little softer and daughters a lot tougher. And yes, watch Kill Bill

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Head hung in shame

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It is not the first time that a girl/woman is raped. Neither is it the first brutal one. I know no statistics but world over (194 countries), my estimate is that at least 1,000 women must have been suffering this fate every single day. One among the several prices they pay for being a female.

But every once in a while a particular case penetrates the shield of deliberate ignorance which we create around us and shakes our conscience. In the national capital, a young student was careful enough not to be alone while being out and had a male friend to protect her. She did not go with notorious rickshaws but used a public transport. But for what? To get heinously beaten up first and then get violated by a gang of beasts.

Violated, dishonoured, ‘outraged her modesty’ …. we have invented so many euphemistic terms for such a monstrous violence. Murder is bad too as it ends a life. But what of rape? What all it ends? Life, happy life, social life, self-respect, careers, dignity in society, families, dreams or just everything.

When I was small, my mother passed away. But I am lucky to have a Mosi who is more than mother to me. Countless friends and cousins made this life worthwhile. Also I had lovely teachers for whom I will always remain obligated to. My first boss showered motherly love on me. And I have the nicest soul-mate in the world. They all love me to their core and so do I. A girl spreads love in all her incarnations – mother, sister, girlfriend, wife, daughter. They fill colours to the life, bind families and are the cause and reason for our existence.

My heart aches when such cruelty happens. I despise the argument that since not all men commit rape. I have no involvement and hence no blood on my hands. But isn’t it that all rapists are men. If I rejoice in and feel proud for a cricket match won by some unrelated young Indians, should not my head hung down in shame now?

blood on hands

I do not intend to give any preachings or arguments. I just want to pray. She will be in my prayers, today and hereafter.