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.

self_defense

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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She died while we slept

Tales of a grossly horrific rape and torture are over all media for past many days. Despite our prayers and some last moment political gimmicks by the government, she died. She fought hard and now rests in peace.

Here, I would articulate a few points worth noting:

# This rape and death means nothing to any politician. They just tried to duck the responsibility and make the most of the issue. Shiela Dikshit tried to get rid of the Police Commissioner. She played very cheap tricks for that.

# Youth icon Rahul Gandhi was totally absent from the scene. It can be remembered that he cooked up stories of rapes in Bhatta-Parsol, UP last year to gain political mileage. He has no credibility to loose but now any slightest hope of his being any different is gone.

# Home Minister Shinde personally ordered application of water canon, tear gas and lathi-charges. When they could not break the fortitude of young students, he called a press conference in which he wore his scornful grin compared women demanding safety to Maoists.

# It is really sad that a policeman on duty died. He might have got some bruises in minor scuffles with students while the lathi-charges. But it is more than evident that he collapsed because of a heart problem. Nonetheless, Delhi Police is trying to make the most of this death. Their assertion that the protest marches are violent enough to kill a cop gives them right to open fire next.

# President’s son and newly elected Lok Sabha member, Abhijit Mukherjee called the protesting girls to be dented-painted chicks who protest in day and dance in clubs at night. This disdainful statement is the least that can be expected of our politicians. These hopeless losers know only communal-caste-crime-money based politics and can’t withstand the fact that a few confident girls can come out of home and ask for their rights.

India gang-rape protester

# A senior lady scientist in Bhopal observed that the girl should not have ventured out in night with her boyfriend (any guy you go out with, is your boyfriend). And once she did get caught by 6 men, she should not have resisted the rape. This way she might have avoided the gruesome torture. Howsoever gross this statement is, it can still shed some light. I don’t think there is anything sexually enjoyable in these kind of rape. It is more about the satisfaction which these usually losers get by domination, by being in a position to decide the fate – life and death of someone, the sadistic pleasure they derive from screams. In several researches, sex-workers tell horrors of brutal deeds done to them by their customers. It ranges from burning by cigarettes to inserting any possible object in private parts. Apparently, these men don’t feel like getting value for money by doing regular sex. So being a researcher herself, I believe the lady must have meant this – once you are in an unavoidable situation – show that you are in intense pain and reluctantly cooperate. This might save you intestines and life. (I know this is awful)

# Congress President of their Andhra Pradesh unit reminded us that girls have mistaken the meaning of freedom for India. According to him, the fact that India has become independent doesn’t give a girl any right to venture out at 9 pm.

# A senior Delhi police officer said that nobody is safe here – even guys loose their wallets and mobile phones. So what’s all this fuss about women safety.

# A policeman was curious to know what the girl was doing with that guy. He guessed that the two must be doing something obscene which excited the 6 men and hence whatever then happened was inevitable and they had it coming.

In such a scenario many realists argue that what is that we have achieved out of these candle light marches? They say that nothing is gained from protests or facebook messages. But I see a brighter hopeful picture here. I believe my whole nation is rising. A whole generation is getting awakened and becoming conscious of its rights (and their deprivations).
In Indian political arithmetic, there was no place for middle class educated people. Because they were never united and were never a vote bank for any party. Now, they are a force none will ignore. So these popular movements herald a new era where candidates will have to talk sensible to get elected. These politically aware voters must not be more than 5%. But in these days, the margin between electoral victory and loss is even lesser than that. So, I see that while identity based politics will go on for sometime, rationality and reforms can’t be ignored anymore. It is now the time for the politicians to get dented-painted.

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.