mid-day editorial: Women can't feel safe even in their homes

Published: 08 December, 2016 07:37 IST | mid-day correspondent |

The city read in shock yesterday of the sexual assault and murder of a Vile Parle-based young woman, a physiotherapist

The city read in shock yesterday of the sexual assault and murder of a Vile Parle-based young woman, a physiotherapist. The 25-year-old professional was killed in the early hours of Tuesday, after attending a birthday party of a friend.

Reports stated that she went out for dinner with a group and returned home at midnight. She was then raped, strangled with a pair of jeans and burnt. Marks on her body showed signs of a struggle and initial reports claim that the cops suspect the assaulters set fire to the body in an attempt to pass this off as just a murder.

The most important aspect is that the crime happened inside the girl’s home. It proves just how vulnerable women continue to be even in supposed safe places like their homes. The second is that the killers may have been friends or acquaintances, spending time with her at home. For years, women have been told to stay within four walls and not mix with strangers. Well-meaning though the advice may be, it has been blown to smithereens as more cases turn up of women being assaulted in their homes, at workplace, schools, colleges and even medical institutions by men who are known to them. It is symptomatic of a sick, inequitable society that safe spaces for women are shrinking at an alarming and very disturbing rate.

We have learnt little from the the Nirbhaya case, which became the catalyst of a nation-wide movement. While help became more accessible, and the concept of naming and shaming the accused became more common, there still seems to be no let up in assault cases.

In the end, it would be the greatest travesty if this victim is judged by parameters like the time she came home, or who she let into her house. It’s high time we focus our judgment on the killers instead.

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