Speed up justice delivery in rape cases

Even as the Uber taxi rape case, continues to grab headlines, a slew of molestation and rape cases continue to be reported. In one of the latest instances, there has been a molestation in a Mumbai residential building lift, where a security guard molested and tried to rape a postwoman. This, in a posh Western suburb in daylight.

There have also been a number of reports about women facing sexual violence in perhaps the last bastion of safety and security. Hospitals and doctors’ clinics are also not safe. Ward boys have been accused of molesting nurses and patients. In certain cases, doctors have been accused of rape. It is shocking that a place, where one goes to heal actually becomes a place to fear. If women face some trepidation in visiting a doctor, it shows how badly we have fallen as a society.

Tackling what one can definitely say is a women’s safety crisis needs a multi-pronged approach. While some point out that awareness has grown and the women are showing courage by approaching the police to lodge complaints. But the jury is still out on whether there are more rape complaints because of awareness or whether these cases are simply becoming more visible because of a more aggressive press and extensive social media network.

For deterrence, there has to be a huge change in mindset. Academic education is not the answer, as reports have shown, even the so-called highly educated are being accused of these crimes. Social mores have to change and upbringing needs radical transformation. Then, of course, we need a higher conviction rate, exemplary punishment and a real fear of the law for these crimes to cease.

Numerous reports and surveys show that Indians continue to think that the criminal justice system does not adequately deal with the problem of rape. Many laws are too lax and only public outcries in ‘high-profile’ cases have resulted in fast-track courts and the harshest punishments. There will be always those who say laws are too tough but, as reports show, the problem is grave and everywhere. Minds will take time to change, but the criminal justice system can be made faster.

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