Saturday, March 23, 2013

IndiChange : An Equal Life

The menace of Violence against women in our country was shockingly brought  into focus when 23 year old Physiotherapy intern was brutally gang raped in Delhi and succumbed to her injuries after battling for her  life for 13 days.

I was so Moved by her Death that i not only blogged about it but chose to break my silence and share my two incidence of sexual harassment.

During the 13 days she lay in hospitals,  her body indented with  more than half a dozen tubes, alternating between breathing on her own and via the ventilator , the nation woke up to the extremely gruesome reality of violence against women.

For the manner in which the victim was raped and maltreated indicated that the case of rape had little to do with sex and erotica  but everything to do with VIOLENCE against women.  How else can you justify the perpetrators inserting metal rods in her body? Mutilating her digestive and reproductive tracks?

But her death, became a  reason of outrage for the country .  Protests took place all over the country.  Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkotta, Hyderabad, Mumbai, VIshakapatnam, Tiruvananthapuram.

In Delhi, the angry public took the agitation to India Gate and Raisina Hill, the  residence of the President of India and the parliament.  Women bravely faced the  unjust out lash of  Delhi Police , uncaring of  being targeted unfairly.  All they cared for was to make the voice heard, Justice for the gang rape victim. The agitations was also represented by a large section of men. 

The outrage  became both a national as well as International issue.  So much so that former Chief Justice of India,  J S VERMA was asked to prepare a report of all that  was needed to bring about reforms in the current Rape laws.

29 days later, and after having gone through 80,000 suggestions from public, he tabled the report. The report clearly stated that the failure on the part of the government and the Police was responsible for Violence  and crimes  against women .

As a result of the report a Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha.  It was indeed disappointment that on the day of voting, a large number of members were absent.  What was even more shocking was the apathy of those who were present and the totally unwarranted remarks they made on the issue.

If our  elected leaders are so immune to the reality of the crimes against women how can we expect people with little  education to  respect women and treat them with  DIGNITY and EQUALITY?

The law which was finally tabled  did not meet all that was expected. Nevertheless it is a beginning in the right direction.  According to the last  there is death penalty for extreme case of rape and 20 years of imprisonment for other cases .  Acid attacks, Stalking, Voyeurism  and trafficking of women are punishable under Crime law.

Rape is notoriously under reported simply  due to social stigma.  But also because of the insensitivity of dealing with the reports.  The victim is made out to be the perpetrator, which is adding insult to the injury.

It is shameful that the capital of the country is also the rape capital of the world.  Is this  the face of Delhi we want to project to our fellow countrymen  and to the world at large?

Perhaps it is in view of this that a few men  from Bangalore and the Capital sought out unique ways to express their anguish at the horrendous treatment of women in out country.

A few good men from Bangalore wore skirts and protested against the crime against women.

And possibly inspired by the Bangalore men. 50 men from India who are part of India for integrity and Delhi Bikers gathered in new Delhi, India,  to offer "Public apology" from Delhi men to commit to changing men's attitudes towards women.

The rape stats are shocking. In the year 2012, till the third quarter the number of  rape cases reported were as below:

Inida                 18, 358

USA                 93,934

South Africa     54, 926

We in India believe that it is  illiteracy, backwardness and narrow mindedness  of the people which is responsible for the ill treatment and violence against women in our country   How then can one justify the chilling  statistics of USA? 

It is clear that the plight of women across the world is  pretty much the same.

 Another gang rape which became a world issue is the tragic case of  the 16 year old girl who was gang  raped by  two emerging football stars in Steubenville.

The most unbelievable part of this rape case is that the American media is more concerned about he careers of the tho boys who raped the girl.  The victim is believed to be receiving death threats.  Not just that, a women Blogger  Alexandria Goddard who took pains to fight for the rights of the victim was shunned and maligned by all, including her best friend and her mother.  How can we even think of getting justice for women if women themselves  became our sworn enemies ?

Many NGOS are doing  praiseworthy work to bring about a sweeping CHANGE for women's rights.

Breakthrough’s Bell Bajao! launched in India in 2008,

 is a cultural and media campaign that calls on men and boys to take a stand against domestic violence. The campaign seeks to reduce domestic violence and to highlight the role that men and boys can play in reducing violence.
 Breakthrough believes that in order for women, families, communities and nations to realize their full potential, we must bring domestic violence to a halt – everywhere. Bell Bajao calls on men and boys worldwide to ‘ring the bell’ to interrupt domestic violence. We believe domestic violence is everyone’s issue and see men and boys as our partners rather than perpetrators.

V-Day is a global activist movement  founded by Eve Ensler,

   a Tony Award winning Playwright, performer, and activist, is the author of THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, translated into over 48 languages and performed in over 140 countries. V Day's   aim is 'to end violence against women and girls'.

This year on 14th February , which is Valentines Day V Day celebrated is 15th anniversary by a campaign called : ONE BILLION RISING.

. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery.

Outraged by the Delhi gang rape, EVe Ensler travelled to India to witness the ftermth of gang rape and remarked;

"Having worked everyday of my life for 15 years on Sexual violence, I have never seen anything like this, where sexaul violence broke throught he consciousmness and was on the front page , nine articles in evey paper, in the center of every discourse, in the center of colegfe students discussions, in the center of any restaurant you went in.  And I that what has happenbd in India , is really leading the way for the world.  It  has really broken through.  They are actually fast tracking laws.  Theyt are looking at sexual education.  They are looking at the bases of patriarchy and masculinity and how all that leds to Sexual violence".

Stop Rape is another  a UN Body working in this field.

UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict (UN Action) unites the work of 13 UN entities with the goal of ending sexual violence in conflict. It is a concerted effort by the UN system to improve coordination and accountability, amplify programming and advocacy, and support national efforts to prevent sexual violence and respond effectively to the needs of survivors.

A lot is being done, but MORE needs to be done.  At the Law making and enforcing level.

What CAN we do?

The NGOs are doing their jobs. We need to COOPERATE  with them and give them our time.

In every neighborhood there is a NGO doing  a little job.  JOIN hands and help bring a Change.

BLOG about Women's plight.   I blogged about a wonderful International women's Day initiative , 'A Rocking International Women's Day'  IndiChange is a wonderful platform provided by Indiblogger to focus attention  on Women.

AS MOTHERS  teach your DAUGHTERS that they are equal in all aspects to their brothers.

As mothers teach your SONS  that their sisters are EQUAL is all aspects to them, and deserve the same professional education and opportunities as them.

As TEACHERS inculcate the GENDER EQUALITY in children. 

Tell your maids and other women from lower strata of life to send their daughters to SCHOOL.  In some states like Haryana, girls education is not only free but they are being gifted cycles to  reach their schools.

Participate in any ACTIVITY   meant to highlight the plight of women.  During the aftermath of Delhi Gang rape case my daughter and I participated in a Candle light March from Sector 15 Faridabad.

A Change will not happen overnight.  But we have to take the first step and put it into MOMEMTUM.

I end this post for I CHANGE with the hope that it will once again stir the minds of people, awaken in them the need to redress women's Violence issue and Women will have 'AN EQUAL LIFE' across the world.

[This entry is my effort to IndiBlogger's campaign - ISB iDiya for IndiChange - with under the topic -

Blog about any social cause you are passionate about, and its potential solution. If there are any inspiring people or organizations working towards solving it, blog about them as well. INR 30000 goes towards an NGO of your choosing!]