No Country for Women: India’s Sad Story

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No Country for Women: India’s Sad Story

As many as 39 crimes against women were reported every hour in India, up from 21 in 2007, according to Crime in India 2016 report by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

There’s been a dramatic increase of violence against women in India in the past few years. Though statistics articulate well for themselves, one needs to understand why time and again women are the worst victims of horrific social crimes, like rape, trafficking and prostitution.

In one year alone:

As per the latest data from National Crime Records Bureau, the crime rate against women rose from 41.7% to 53.9%, between 2011 and 2015. Up to 3,27,394 cases were reported in 2015 alone, including 34,651 cases of rape, 4,437 cases of attempted rape, 59,277 kidnapping and abductions, 7,634 dowry deaths, and a whopping 1,13,403 cases of domestic cruelty, among others.

Watch this video to learn more:

India coined the term Rape Culture. Hurray!

Rape Culture normalizes sexual abuse and assault and is structured on a pillar of ‘Blame the Victim’. Blaming the victim is a common social attitude found in many people across the country, especially in the northern parts. It appears that, in India rape is deemed to be a consensual act and women are to be blamed for being “victims of sexual assault”. In fact, the women are not even considered victims at all; because ‘it’s their fault, always their fault’.

Right from the elders from the villages to the school children and youngsters from city, everyone indoctrinated into the idea of Victim-Blaming. Schools and offices as well. As soon as a girl turns 14, rape cannot happen; why? Because consent is always there. Clapping requires both hands, so does RAPE!

Once a police officer was found saying, “Both (rapist and victim) are to be blamed. Without knowing you, I can’t even talk to you. No one can do anything to you if they don’t know you. Without consent, no one can even talk to someone else. Will a girl speak to someone unless she consents to do so?

Rape culture is embedded deep into our system, including our educational system – “The girl has to have done something wrong, that’s why she’s been raped,” says a class 8 boy from Bhiwani. Even the teachers preach that the girls are always at fault in rape cases. If a girl smiles at a boy, the boy gets attracted and thus rape happens!

Our Hardworking Government

Despite massive public outrage during Nirbhaya Gangrape case in 2012, nothing has changed in the political landscape in regards to the women’s safety in India, as well. A leading daily reports that in 2016 alone, out of 3.38 lakh crime cases against women, 11.5 percent were rape cases. To top it all – according to ADR India, nearly 30 percent of all legislators have a criminal background, 1581 of sitting legislators have a criminal record, and 51 have been involved in crime against women.

Our ‘venerable’ political leaders have time and again resorted to the act of victim blaming, supported misogyny and endorsed child marriage, further augmenting crimes against women in India. Here we have a few snippets about what our prominent leaders think about rape in India. See, what they have to say about rape in public:

‘Boys Are Boys, They Make Mistakes’ – 2014

Should rape cases lead to hanging? Boys are boys, they make mistakes

Mulayam Singh Yadav, Samajwadi Party Leader

‘Child Marriage is A Solution to Rape’ – 2012

Child marriage is a solution to rape and other atrocities against women.

Om Prakash Chautala, Former Haryana Chief Minister

‘Rapes Happen Because Men and Women Interact’ – 2012

Rapes happen because men and women interact freely.

Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal Chief Minister

Is Rape a Political Propaganda?

Unfortunately, rape has now become a mere political tool to instill fear among the minority communities across India. No more, can we say rape is a gender violence crime, especially after the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year old Muslim girl from the Kathua district of Kashmir. The official investigation declared the victim was mainly attacked because she belonged to Bakarwal nomadic minority, crudely highlighting the ongoing Hindu-Muslim friction that has provoked various attacks on the minorities in recent years in India.

The Most Recent Case study:

Following the recent rape case of Kathua, a scathing letter from 49 civil servants directed towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked him to reach out to the family of the victim and seek their forgiveness. Mr. Modi’s silence on this grievously disheartening Asifa rape case has been shocking, unacceptable and excruciating. The government, whom we have elected in good faith, has failed us again and again. Mind it; this is the same government that was once the flag-bearer of the social campaign, Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao. We were hopeful that acche din ayenge, but is this the price we have to pay? Are our daughters really safe and protected under the present rule?

As many as 2.5 million crimes against women have been reported in India over the last decade. Reported cases of crime against women increased 83 percent from 185,312 in 2007 to 338,954 in 2016.

The letter reflected how we are living in the darkest of times, and slammed PM for maintaining his silence on the horrendous crime, when the entire nation wants to know his reaction. People across the globe are demanding justice for the minor victim from Kashmir, while Narendra Modi government is found patronizing the perpetrators.

However, the 8 accused have now been identified and arrested, and they include retired revenue official Sanji Ram, 60-year-old (the alleged mastermind), his son Vishal Jangotra and nephew (both) juvenile, Special Police Officers (SPOs) Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Kumar, a Rasana resident Parvesh Kumar, Assistant Sub Inspector Anand Dutta and Head Constable Tilak Raj. Nevertheless, all the accused are somehow connected to the present ruling party, and that pains us to say, our protectors are our very perpetrators.

According to ADR (Association for Democratic Reforms) study 2016, BJP has the highest number of MPs, MLAs, approximately, 51 of them have declared cases of crime against women, including assault and rape. Out of 51, 48 are MLAs and 3 are MPs.

Your Silence helps the Bad Guys.

It’s become a massive blame game. But the truth is fingers are pointed at you as well. The public is the largest stakeholder in the issue, but unfortunately is the farthest away from the conversation.

Because If it’s not your daughter, your sister or anyone you know getting trafficked……. why would it matter?

We’ll tell you why: In our passiveness and inaction, we are also perpetrators of the crime. The public, you and me, are the consumers who drive demand for this. And we are the direct catalysts for the rising numbers if we still choose to remain unaware and silent.

As one of our first initiatives, Missing launched a 16 day pan-India campaign using Art as Activism to raise awareness about ‘Violence Against Women and Children’.  The campaign used Stencil Art Work, Awareness Talks and more to educate people on the issue. We collaborated with 10 NGOs across 8 states. The campaign made 9,532,553+ impressions across national, regional and online news portal.

Anyone can download the stencil from our site and join our cause. Each stencil makes around 900 daily impressions in a city. That’s 900 more people one step closer to awareness. That’s a big step forward for this issue. So don’t be silent, do something now. #StopHarassingWomen #EndDemand

Stencil Project