Rising statistics of crime against women and children is a pointer to the abysmal lows our once great civilization has sunk. The rot has set in; almost everybody is raising their voice. But it occurs that we are missing the point. We are beating around the bush; reluctant, or I would even say shy to confront the vexed problem head on. Responses of our activists, politicians, and even the media borders on the extremes. On one hand, they clamor for barbaric punishments for the offenders, and, on the other hand, they hold women responsible. As if castrating a rapist or confining women indoors after the sunset will solve everything; it’s just a dystopian illusion. What is required is a change in our perspective towards women, and our so-called sense of morality. Further, we need to develop empathy for victims; lack of which was so evident when the Delhi CM, Kejriwal shamelessly used the dastardly gang rape of a minor in the capital to target the central government and push his agenda for the control of Delhi Police. Crime Against Women.
We have become too rigid a society. People can’t stand a boy and girl walking together. They will invariably stare at you like you are some criminal. Hooligans doubling up as self-styled moral policemen have the audacity to harass and even beat up young couples. We find people ranting that in our culture, sex is taboo; something that should not be discussed outside the four walls of your house. But is that really so in Indian culture? Indians had always considered sexuality as divine. Be it the Shiv-Shakthi, sensually erotic paintings, and sculptures adorning our ancient temples, or even the great literary work, Kama Sutra; we were confident and proud of our sexuality. But unfortunately, today’s India reminisces of the Victorian Europe, laced with even more regressive influences of Islamic rule. While the modern world has embraced the ancient Indian wisdom about sexuality, we are still stuck with the hypocritical Victorian moral code, enshrined on Indian psyche by our brutal colonial past of subjugation. Unfortunately, there is no ratiocination on the matter either by media or even the intelligentsia. Crime Against Women.
What we need is a change in our entrenched attitude. Imparting sexual education and organizing workshops on ethics for our youth is a must. Moreover, we need to open up about our sexuality. After all, it’s the most primal of our desires. Students after adolescence should be educated about their sexuality in a gradual step by step manner. They should be taught to respect their body and the opposite sex. Unfortunately, Indian adolescents are mostly left to fend for themselves in this crucial phase of their life. They don’t know what to do with their feelings and urges; they don’t know what is right or wrong. Generally parents and teachers are very reluctant or I would say too shy to discuss the topic. Leave alone adolescents, even a significant proportion of 20 something’s in this country have shockingly little knowledge about sex or sexuality. Only avenues most of them have to garner bits of information are grainy porn clips and yellow magazines, which paints a dubious, and distorted picture of sexuality in their impressionable minds. This has to change. Of course, the government has been making some attempts, feeble, though, at imparting sexual education to youth. But, unfortunately, they have mostly wilted away under pressure from religious zealots. Crime Against Women
The brutal Delhi rape shook India’s conscious. Though more heinous crimes had taken place and still take place here, the middle-class resonance and media spotlight transformed the gruesome incident into a national tragedy. The enormous buildup made it our moment of catharsis. Government’s hands were forced into taking some action. But apart from knee-jerk reactions, we are not addressing the root cause. We are just going for superficial solutions, paying only lip service to rising concerns, while betraying a fierce loyalty to an outdated moral etiquette. This is best evident from a recently admitted PIL in the honorable Supreme Court of India for making watching porn a criminal offense; and the botched up government response of ordering a blanket ban. This is just ludicrous. We are boxing ourselves to a corner here. Though highly unlikely, if such a law ever comes into force and is implemented in letter, a vast majority of our young, and not so young population will have to be incarcerated!!. Is this our silver bullet to prevent crime against women? Then I am afraid that we are seriously deranged, and retarded as a society. Crime Against Women.
So what is the solution? Sugarcoated attempts to further stymie the liberties of women in the name of their protection is a strict no; for it is nothing but patriarchal chauvinism. Crime against women is closely related to the level of education in the society. In an educated and exuberant society, women are mostly respected. The most important thing is to spread awareness. We must educate people. We must encourage parents and teachers to be open to youngsters on the matter of sexuality and engage them. Coming to pornography, of course, child porn should be severely dealt with. Pedophiles repeatedly downloading child porn should be put behind the bars. Coming to regular ‘legal’ pornography, the government could try to ensure a higher premium for such content to discourage minor users, though the effectiveness of such a step is in question in this age of torrents, and deep web. Further, I don’t imagine Indians paying money for media content, be it movies, music, games or porn.[ 97% of OS and other software we use are counterfeits; You may have noticed how gaming companies and Hollywood Studios have drastically reduced the cost of their wares in India, to somehow entice us to go for the original]. Nevertheless, effective measures to alleviate poverty and to empower women will go a long way in protecting the dignity of our women. Crime Against Women.
Now coming to the most vexed topic of them all, prostitution. Should it be legalized? Most of us are not even comfortable with the topic. Even those who strongly feel that prostitution should be legalized is afraid to air their view openly as it would be ‘politically incorrect’ to do so. The stigma associated with prostitution is a bit too much to confront. But, whether legal or not, prostitution thrives. Sex rackets traffic young women and children and forces them into the flesh trade. They are brutally exploited and violated. They can’t go to the police or any other authorities as they are virtually non-entities for the powers that be. The money paid by pleasure seekers is mostly tunneled away by the cartel leaving them just enough to survive. They are just treated as a commodity, thrown to dogs when their youth fades. And, they are left to fend for themselves, with no means to earn their bread and staring at social ostracization.
Legalizing prostitution will enable the government to effectively regulate flesh trade. Trafficking of innocent women and children will come down drastically, provided government agencies show some will. Also, the prostitutes will get at least a semblance of dignity and there will be an end to their ordeal of brutal subjugation and exploitation. Further, they will get the deserved monetary benefits for their work, and will also help control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases as health and fitness certificates will become mandatory. It will also help people to release their pent up sexual energy safely; sexually aggressive behavior, and frustration will tone down considerably making women much safer. We should also remember that prostitutes were not looked down upon by ancient India; rather they were given a position of relative dignity. So it’s highly desirable that the nation gets into a healthy debate about the viability of legalizing prostitution. Crime Against Women.
Finally as a nation, we should learn to respect women. The stark reality that we have come to this is a gross injustice to our great, ancient civilization, which taught us to worship woman as Para Brahman, which translates roughly to supreme deity/soul. We have to stem the rot, and for that the authorities and the public should work in tandem. We must strive to find lasting solutions rather than go for knee jerk reactions to satisfy the collective consciousness of the society. For that, we have to go back to our roots. The twenty-first century is said to belong to India. As we restore our great nation to its past glory, and exuberance, let’s not forget to restore the dignity of our women.