Do you dream? Who doesn’t? What do you dream about “generally”? I mean there might be a certain set of dreams that you generally visualise. My school, college, friends, examination hall, my father – they don’t seem to leave my eyes. They make me happy, teary eyed, laugh out loud, think hours about them.
But yesterday I had a very disturbing dream that shook me completely.
What was the dream? I was travelling in a bus. There was a man who was sitting behind my seat. He was doing some obnoxious stuff, passing lewd comments at women in the bus accompanied with actions. And the irony is he was with his daughter and no one dared to oppose him. When finally I decided to take an initiative and report the issue to the cops to my dismay the fact dawned on me that he himself was a cop (it’s a dream and things are not in my control). And instead of being apologetic he jeered and threatened me of dire consequences.
And when my daughter tossed in bed and started crying calling out me my dream broke and I was completely aghast. I kept thinking about it.
It was just a dream but it left me trembling. What could be the reason? I kept pondering over and over. This is not just a dream but a harsh reality which women in India have to deal as a part of their lives. Eve teasing, molestation, stalking, rape, acid attacks – an ugly side of a shining country.
When I say this, many would confront me saying that every country has its own set of problems then why magnify and present our motherland in a negative shade to the world. There are many other countries where such atrocities are committed at an alarming rate, way higher than India but why only our country is projected before the world (remember the Nirbhaya case? world still remembers that) as an unsafe country for women? That’s a point to be noted. I have a counter argument – when we compare two countries we should always strive to reach higher possible position as far as positive attributes are concerned be it GDP, literacy, health or happiness index but it is utter nonsense to say that we are still behind many more other countries in crime rate and the current situation isn’t alarming. We should strive to uproot it, make the count zero, period!
What is more saddening and astonishing: If crime against women isn’t horrible enough the way our so-called “cultured” society treats the victim is repelling to the core. One news of such mishap and the brigade of guardians of the society jumps in with their conclusion labelling the victim as the culprit. And not to forget society includes women too making their stand unbelievable. From her dress to her motive of stepping out of her house, everything is under scanner. I vividly remember the interview of the lawyer defending rapists in the infamous “Nirbhaya” case. He said ” if a pack of sweet a meat is in front of dogs they will surely attack it” that made me feel gross. How under the sun one can compare a girl to a pack of sweet meat. The culprit is given a clean chit stating that the woman might have provoked such a cruelty at against herself. Suddenly the terms like responsibility, decency, character are coined in reference to woman as they are the sole torch bearers of a morally good conduct. In fact the elected leaders (not all) hold women responsible. It’s pretty shameful.
I have a question: As a woman I understand a line of decency (which is too thin) shall never be crossed be it dressing or behaviour and it holds good for both the genders. In any case NO is a NO, any invasion is an indication of sick mentality of the culprit that needs an iron hand treatment. As far as provocation point is concerned I fail to understand how a three years old girl child can provoke a thirty year old man, how provocatively a school student returning from school after independence day celebrations would be dressed, how provocatively a mentally challenged girl act to be target of a group of men who just wanted to have fun at the expense of that poor child. Can the brigade answer me? I am waiting.
Whom shall we blame? When criminals move freely and the victim is being shamed mercilessly, it isn’t just a failure of law and order but our failure as a society. When a girl reports about a stalker or an eve teaser the family tries to hush her up with a plain statement ” what would everyone say if they come to know about this incident” and the matter is brushed under the carpet. Such fear instills fearlessness in the mind of criminals to go ahead and do something more grave in nature. Why don’t they understand that crime should be nipped in bid is what makes me shudder.
As a mother of a girl child I simply fear at the thought would she be safe in her own country? People may denounce me as a less patriot or even a traitor but I am sure that today every woman and a mother of a girl child have this fear looming in the corner of her mind “If her daughter is safe?”
I am not a feminist polarising genders and supporting women even if it is not meant to be but I surely vouch for true independence, freedom from fear of being beaten, violated and killed. I want a safe haven for my kids and for everyone else.
Am I wrong in holding this thought?