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Anti-rape protests need to be sustained

It is sickening to read India hitting the global headlines again for all the wrong reasons. Even as the shadow of the Delhi gang rape victim who died in a Singapore hospital after being raped in a moving bus, falls long and shamefully on this country, reports about a Swiss woman gang-raped in Madhya Pradesh are beaming on world news.

In Mumbai there has been a gang rape in a Matunga slum. Just recently, a woman had been gang raped in Vile Parle. Even as the Delhi gang rape incident was sparking unprecedented protests in the Capital, reports showed there was no let up in the crime, there were other rapes happening in the Capital and elsewhere in the country.

This goes to show that the protests that galvanised the nation cannot be sporadic. One needs a sustained, forceful and fitting response to the crime of rape, which is happening with alarming frequency here. Some put this down to the more widespread reach of the media, while others say that victims are not too afraid or hesitant like earlier about complaining. Be that as it may, these cases show that one-off protests are not going to change much here.

Sustained efforts, which means that mindsets have to change so that the perpetrator is completely shamed. The public does not question or judge the victim on how she was dressed and what she was doing at a certain place at a certain time. Public awareness campaigns need to hammer home the message with even greater vehemence than before.

Laws for juvenile delinquents involved in the crime of rape need greater scrutiny. It is evident now more than ever that the protests were just a spark. What this country needs is a blazing furnace of outrage and demand for action. 

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