One year after the horrific brutalisation of a paramedic student in Delhi on December 16, 2012, nothing much has changed at one level except the awareness among women that they have to be careful and some of them are plucking up courage to report rapes and sexual harassment.
The last words of a 17-year old victim who committed suicide as the police and no one took her complaint seriously says it all. “There is nobody willing to listen to us,” she told her mother. Many rape victims like her throughout the country have committee suicide for the same reason. Even when a case is registered there is no support system for the victim as she negotiates the system, with women’s organisations being mere showpieces. Whether at the hospital, where the victim has to go for a humiliating examination, and then during the trial, she is under huge trauma and with no support. Laws against rape were strengthened and enhanced but they are useless unless implemented with alacrity and sensitivity.
The tsunami of concern is the brutality of men in every strata of society towards their victims. Some activists say that the breaking down of the community, absence of community activity to keep the youth occupied mentally and physically is the reason for lumpen elements increasingly resorting to rape as they have no jobs, nothing to lose and easy access to pornography.
Whatever the reasons for the sexual terrorism against women, there needs to be a more organised, serious approach to the issue apart from sensitising men in authority, whether political or religious, on the issue of rape.