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Why we need to be afraid

The recent spike in crimes against women appears to have shocked the conscience of the judiciary. Talking about the issue while hearing the suo-motu PIL initiated by the High Court to protect women, especially those who work late hours, Justice VM Kanade remarked, “Something is wrong… There was a time when a single constable was enough to deter. But now, no one is afraid.”

Sample this, from an earlier hearing before the same bench: “The question of security of women is a burning issue. A large number of cases of eve-teasing [have been noticed], and people rescuing such women have been assaulted and murdered in some cases. The issue needs to be resolved taking into consideration all aspects... [The] question of maintaining the dignity of women needs to be redressed.”

Men have lived with a sense of entitlement for generations, a paradigm that is being rapidly dismantled by the rise of women. The sexual urge in men, according to author Pinki Virani, is the main reason sexually related offences take place.

The clash between urban and rural also contributes. Consider the recent rape of a Spanish national in tawny Bandra by a history sheeter, or the attempted rape and murder of Pallavi Purkayastha by her building watchman: Rural job-seeking men come to the city expecting urban women to behave demurely, and are confronted by mixed feelings of excitement, arousal — but also resentment and anger — at the ways of urban women.

Consider also, the misconceived actions of the police force. Instead of focusing on better policing, the essentially rustic world view of the average policeman has had him target pubs, bars and sundry parties as the real epicenters of the city’s decadence. Until education brings about drastic changes in the thinking of men and policemen alike, women will remain targets. 

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