After a pretty usual day of attending classes and gossiping around with my friends, i finally tuck myself into my bed. Like every other night i make promises to myself about how tomorrow i will get up and change the world. And like every other day, deep down i know i will wake up barely before class and the only thing that I will change is my PJs. As I laugh and crib over myself,i pick my phone and start surfing social media to stalk and judge every body i know, when i come across something that breaks my heart and shatters my soul. I wipe my tears away as i get up and sit upright. No i didn’t come across the news of my crush’s new love interest. Neither was it the death of my favourite celebrity. As i now type this, i so hope it was one of the above.
I had actually stumbled upon this news article about the rape of an 8 month old girl, by her 28 year old drunk cousin, in the national capital of the world’s largest democracy, my Bharat Mata.
Now this is not the first time I have read such a news. The latest available statistics are pretty grim already. 106 women were raped daily in 2016. A UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2014 said one in three rape victims in India was a minor. More than 19,000 children were raped in 2016.
Some one, adult or minor, is probably being raped now as I write and another one as you read.
What was new then?
Well, for the first time I somehow wondered could this baby have been someone i know? Is it possible it was my darling niece, my whole extended family dotes upon? Could it possibly be my own daughter in a few years? Could it have been me years ago? Could it be me tomorrow?
And each time I gave myself an affirmative response, each time my heart let out a shriek and my eyes swelled up more.
Anyone of you who reads this will on the first instance just shirk it off and tell me I am thinking over unnecessarily. And my mother might even make me keep some fast and force temple visits to undo the bad thoughts i have thought.
But nothing will change the fact that I am scared. Aren’t you?
Even if we are the few blessed ones, who will never be a victim ,what about this 8 month old baby who was raped?
All the talks and debates about the possible “causes” of rape are hollow in this case.
Was she probably giving wrong hints?
Could her loud tear jerking cries when her cousin tried to penetrate her , possibly be pleasure moans?
Was it her karma , maybe of her past births?
Or like many great leaders of our time have pointed out every time, it was probably her modern and western sense of fashion and clothes- her diaper was too short it seems.
Why else would a grown up man think it was okay to rape her? Why else would he think that it is okay to let the baby remain in her own pool of blood and walk off after he did his business?
Why else would he think that it is okay for him to even exist on this planet and be blessed with this gift called life?
Yes, now that this case has come to limelight , the public outrage will ensure he gets his share of punishment. But will his punishment make everything okay? Is this justice?
Months ago, the #metoo movement on Facebook had got people to sit up and take notice. Sexual Harassment was something every girl around us faces in such frequency that it has for us become a part of our daily routine. Itna to chalta hai.
Okay, the question then is kitna nahi chalta?
What is the point after which we feel, that limit has been crossed?
No, don’t answer me. It is not the limits i am concerned about.
Whatever be the limits, what are we doing to ensure they are not crossed for us, our friends, our family and anyone else for that matter?
Doesn’t your blood boil, each time some “leader” gives out statements blaming western culture for bad influence and in the same breath claiming that men are men, and such little mistakes and incidents are bound to happen?
Our elected politicians, our revered god-men and the chaar log we have always heard about will speak and do what they will, not what is right.
Maybe now is the time for us, you and me, the educated class of this society to put our foot down , speak up and take the right steps.
We all know the basic rigour to solve a problem. Accepting there is a problem. Understand the underlying causes. Working on these causes to solve the problem . Now that we all are well aware of the problem, let’s try and find the reasons behind it.
The irony that discussing about sexual intercourse is something that is looked down upon by the society and yet, all of us are expected to have sex and produce kids by this very society, could be a possible starter for discussions.
The fact that all our movies, television shows and even advertisements are objectifying women as sex baits to sell themselves, drives home the point about how sick our mentality is.
You can probably count on your fingers the number of daily soaps, that do not have a plot revolving around men fighting for that one woman, whose only part in the show is to look pretty and safeguard her virginity.
Isn’t that all women are for, after all?
At this point of time i am completely clueless, scared, disturbed and on a lookout for answers.
I want to know what people around me, with the best of education and family support think are the causes of such rapes?
Why is our national capital casually referred to as the “Rape Capital”?
How does a human being , in all his right senses even think the thought of raping another human being, let alone a child or an infant?
An 8 month old baby barely knows how to sit up right and someone is willing to satisfy themselves out of that so called little bundle of parent’s joy!
I want to know when and how and why did our society turn so wrong that this is “yet another incident” and not an one-off incident. When and how and why did we get so accustomed to reading about brutal rapes ,without expressing shock anymore?
Allow me to be selfish, for I want to know how I , a woman with a fully developed body, a woman who wears jeans and skirt, a woman who needs to travel day in and out for her job , will be safe when even these teeny tiny kids are not spared?
Is it all a merely the play of good and bad luck?
Everyday i step out of my home, should I just hope that I won’t be raped, is that all I can do?
IS THAT ALL WE CAN DO?