Nirbhaya, again.

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First things first. There will be mentions of violence, rape, and crimes against children in this piece. If you’re someone who can get easily affected/ triggered by reading about such incidents, please do not read further.

If you need help, please call the numbers below:

Women police helpline: 1091, 1291

Domestic abuse national helpline: 181

Childline: 1098

We as a country were shook to the core by the incidents of 16th of December, 2012. Rape as a crime was not uncommon in the country, especially not the national capital. It was the sheer violence and hatred, the lack of humanity in the Nirbhaya case that caused such hue and cry. The details of this crime were chilling, and the cruelty previously unheard of.

Almost a decade later, things are seemingly stuck in the same place, if not deteriorating rapidly. The sheer volume of rape cases has resulted in most newspapers dedicating a whole section to these articles. The news channels have made a circus out of the cases (nothing new there), broadcasting the most devastating details in an insensitive and sensational manner. While the erstwhile journalists have taken on the job of soap opera actors, the situation of women has taken turn after turn for the worse.

This year has been a hailstorm of sickness, death, and desolation. The hope in a majority of us has hit an all time low. A lot of life-changing decisions and plans were trashed, a lot of jobs put on the guillotine, and a lot of salaries took cut after cut. The lockdown meant the people usually going out regularly for jobs, were staying home for an extended period of time. All of this meant things got bad for the victims of domestic abuse and marital rape (still not a crime in this country, btw). Data released by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), and NGOs across the country showed shocking levels of increase in cases of domestic abuse reported (look it up online, the stats are chilling).

This also would mean a general increase in the population increase, but that’s a topic for another day. 

This week, another case was added to the long list of violent gangrapes. This time, it was a young Dalit girl who was trending on Indian twitter. She was violated in a gruesome manner, and after the expected police apathy, and covering for the perpetrators, she was flown over to Delhi for treatment, where she breathed her last. Beti bachao indeed. 

The media has been calling this 19-year-old a woman. She was a legal adult, but please, dear reader, think back to when you were 19. She was a girl. A young teen.

People seem to think rape is about sex. That is where the “culture” police come up with their arguments. “chhote kapde pehne honge”, “dair raat ko baahar kyun gayi?”, “ladke ke saath thi?”, “daaru pi rakhi thi ladki ne?”, and the rest of the barrage of justifications for the crime. I just have this to say to you: rape is not about sex. Rape is about power. Like a tweet that went viral a few years ago said, “Rape is about violence, not sex. If a person hits you with a spade, you wouldn’t call it gardening.”. 

Rapists cause rape. Not the victims. It doesn’t matter what the victim was wearing. It doesn’t matter what the victim was doing, or where the victim was. It doesn’t matter what age the victim was. Rape is wrong. Rapists are the ones who should be ostracised, not the victims. Uncles and family friends, teachers and coaches, bosses and jilted lovers. The threat is constant. The fear is constant. 

The “good guy” argument has gained traction in the recent years. And to them I say, nobody says all men are molesters or rapists or cat-callers or eve-teasers. But all women have faced these things time and time again, day after day. Not all men, but DEFINITELY all women.

If you’re an ally, it’s starts with things as simple as raising your voice at something like this happening around you. If you’re an ally, I beg for you to be aware of your surroundings. If you’re an ally, maybe together we can get this country to be a safer place, a better society. If not in our lifetimes, then for the next. Or for the one after that. Change will bring hope, and right now, we as a country are in dire need of hope. 

About Author:

“Ramya describes herself as an Extrovert max (not Geet level though, not even close), weird as a certain Ms. Lovegood, and helluo libroRUM (geddit?). If there’s a book fandom, she’s probably neck-deep in it… Wannabe polyglot.”

You can follow Ramya on twitter: @good_old_rum

Also From the Author: We’re Living Through Rather Strange Times