Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Keep The Fire Burning

Friends, Delhites and Countrymen,

The New Year is upon us. The beginning of the New Year is a time for fresh starts and second chances. It is a time to make changes in our lives and in those of others. It is the time to leave things behind but I would hope that one of the things we choose not to leave behind is the determination and outrage that has forced us to take to the streets and demand justice for the anonymous rape victim, to demand that our country and especially our nation’s capital be places where women feel safe and protected.

The month of December has seen the youth of Delhi take to the streets in outrage. I would like to believe this is because the latest case, where a girl was gang-raped in a moving bus, was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. That it was the catalyst that would not allow us to silently accept things as they were anymore. However I find myself wondering how many people were present at the many protests because it was the “cool and fashionable” thing to do and how many people where there because they truly want Indian women to feel safe and the perpetrators of these crimes to be punished.

Along with the rest of the country I too watched the zealous protestors on the news and read about them in the papers. It makes me hope that the people who were there for the right reasons far outnumber those that were there for superficial reasons. But it remains to be seen if this “movement” is a flash-bang grenade or a steady ever increasing flame.

One of the ways that we can ensure that the movement is not easily forgotten is to, often and openly, talk about the issues that have been raised and the possible solutions that we can come up with, to educate those around us until there is not a single Indian left who does not understand what we hope to achieve.

The effectiveness of a movement is directly proportionate to its staying power. All successful movements in history have been able to sustain themselves and instill hope in their supporters and member for years and even decades at a time! The movement that we have begun, the struggle to keep the fairer half of our population safe is one that deserves all the fuel it can get. It needs to keep steady and remain in the foreground until the government and society takes the kinds of actions that need to be taken, not rise up fast and passionate every time there is a horrific incident reported by the media  but die down just as fast having made no effective difference.

Dear country, it is no longer enough to just let the victims and society know that you care, you must step up and help in the process of change. Actions speak louder than words, the old saying holds true even now!

This movement is close to all our hearts and it is our duty to ensure that the fire keeps burning and that our efforts bear fruit.

Let the New Year see us keep up our efforts with new vigor and determination!!  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Solution To The Problem Of Rape

We have all been affected by the incident that took place in Delhi.

The news of rape is never easy to handle, whether we know the victim or not, especially for us women because it forces us to acknowledge that we could just as easily have been victims ourselves.

The gang rape of a girl in a moving bus seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. It has forced the youth of Delhi, indeed all of India, to step up to the plate. They have made it known that some serious action needs to be taken by the government both to punish the accused in this case and to make changes that will keep women safe in the future.

The hundreds of college students who have gathered to protest outside the Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate have done their utmost to ensure that those in the position to make changes know that the time is now. Action needs to be taken now!!

Many groups and many factions have expressed their opinions about both the need to increase the severity of punishment for rapists and the need to take measures to make women safer and prevent the occurrence of rape altogether.

The question before us now is how do we find a solution?? I just heard that even the threat of the death penalty has not served as a deterrent in many countries, so why should it work in India where the police are insensitive at the very least and themselves the perpetrators of such crimes on more occasions than any of us would like to admit.

This begs the question, where do we go and who do we expect to protect us if those charged with that very duty are often no better that the rapists that we wish to protect ourselves from??

Many have said that the solution to the problem of rape and violence against women can only be solved though a societal overhaul. A re-education of society and it’s re-organization as non-patriarchal is quite possibly the only true solution to our problem but the fact remains that, in spite of our best efforts this kind of change will not happen overnight, it might not even happen over the next century.

After the reactions that I have witnessed over the last few days I am sure that our generation will make every effort to bring about this change in society but what will keep us safe until that time. The fabric of society cannot be rewoven in a few days or months or even years. It will happen of that I am sure BUT until then what do we do??

What possible solution can we put forward that will act as a deterrent?? That will make women and girls feel safer??

Should pepper spray be mandatory for the fairer sex, along with rape whistles and compulsory self-defense classes in schools and colleges?? Regular talks and reminders of the things that women can do to keep themselves safer?? There is a solution out there we simply have yet to stumble upon it.

It is my sincerest hope that now that the youth has come forward and has entered into dialogue with the powers that be, a solution can be found. Even a small change can possibly bring down the number of women who are subjected to such violence everyday significantly. Change that saves even one woman is change worth implementing. It will be a long and difficult journey as we will have to change as much about ourselves as we want to change about others but the first step has been taken and now all we can do is continue.

So do you have any ideas?? Please do share!