In recent times, there have been three brutal cases, amongst others, which have shaken the nation by roots. According to ETV Andhra Pradesh, on 16th December 2012, the famous “Nirbhaya” case drew a lot of attention to the lack of measures and laws that exist to protect the women in the country.
Let’s first talk about the Nirbhaya Case:
On a fateful night, a 23-year-old psychology student was raped brutally by six men on a bus while her friend was also severely beaten up nearly to death. The rape was so brutal that the victim died of sustained injuries. ETV Latest News says that after seven years, the culprits seem to be getting the deserved punishment. However, it took seven whole years for our judicial system to grant a death sentence to the culprits, and at this time, the nation has been facing worse cases than before.
Let’s now have a prominent highlight on the Unnao Rape Case:
On 11th June 2017, a 17-year-old girl got gang-raped. She then died of severe burns on the body.
The Recent Priyanka Reddy Case in Hyderabad:
On 27th November 2019, a veterinary doctor Priyanka Reddy was returning to her home when she got brutally raped, murdered and buried.
Well, The Nirbhaya case, the Unnao case and the Priyanka Reddy case all make us wonder whether humanity is still alive or not.
Does security cause vulnerability?
Since before, now women are more financially and materially secure, they have jobs and are independent. But ironically, this independence seems to have made them more vulnerable. While travelling, while living alone or even with family, and while at work- women are not safe anywhere.
In recent times, the movement for gender equality is raging across the world. However, patriarchy doesn’t seem to be affected by it. In spite of such efforts, women continue to become victims of male chauvinism which manifests itself as mental, physical and emotional sexual assault with rape being the most extreme form.
The rapidly changing dynamic between the male and female section of the society is shaking the very foundation of patriarchy. The destabilisation of the beliefs of chauvinistic men is leading to them trying to find a way to reassert their authority.
It, combined with the unstable economic condition of the country and the stagnant judicial system, is leading to a high rate of verbal and physical sexual abuse. On one end of the spectrum, there are the underprivileged whose deprivation is leading to such aggression. Whereas, on the other end, is the dominant male at a workplace, unashamedly exploiting his position and power.
Is it only sexual abuse?
However, sadly sexual abuse is not the only way women get victimised. Although asking for dowry is illegal, it has failed to curb the practice. Regularly, brides get tortured to ask for more money from their family, failing which they get murdered.
One more form of violence against women is acid attacks. There have been innumerable acid attack cases, where men, after being rejected avenge their humiliation by throwing acid on women, thus destroying her face, a symbol of feminine persona.
Bollywood is also not doing any good to the society, due to the type of movies created today. Blatant sexism rules over Bollywood where in most cases, the women are merely a love interest whose only job in the film is to look good and be wooed by the protagonist. And then there are movies which glorify male dominance on a petite, submissive woman and it becomes a blockbuster.
But why do these incidents happen so frequently?
As mentioned above, the patriarchal society is at a loss now that the gender dynamic is changing. The losing party keeps desperately trying to find a way to reassert its authority by putting down the allegedly “weaker” sex.
Thus, not only are women raped but they are also blamed for it. Highly positioned politicians with influence and power unabashedly say how wearing different clothes, drinking alcohol, going out at night, befriending men etc. are all reasons for rape and that the woman should be more careful because “men will be men”.
What is most ironic is that India is one of the few countries where powerful goddesses are worshipped like Durga and Kali and on the other hand, human women are abused and killed regularly for dowry and vengeance.