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When crime against women are committed in Delhi, the government suddenly springs to action IF there is a protest. An exception to this was the Guwahati molestation case because the video went viral. It was heartening that Delhi took to streets yesterday and forced the government to take notice (however bland it was) but the actions promised are a bit worrisome. There was no talk of taking up the issue at a national level. Our rulers (yeah, that is what they are. Rulers) should understand that applying quick fixes in Delhi will not solve the problem on a national scale.

According to the National Crime  Records Bureau (NCRB) data (1991-2011), Madhya Pradesh has led the nation in the number of rapes committed. Only last year, it recorded 3,406 cases of rape, which means nine women were raped here every 24 hours. Overall, the State accounted for 14 per cent of the rapes committed across the country in 2011. Among cities, the State capital, Bhopal, with 100 rapes, was second only to the metropolises Delhi (453) and Mumbai (221), while the State’s industrial capital, Indore, stood fifth, registering 91 rapes.

Not surprisingly, the top five States in terms of the number of rapes — Madhya Pradesh (3,406), West Bengal (2,363), Uttar Pradesh (2,042), Rajasthan (1,800) and Maharashtra (1,701) — also have dismal sex ratios. While Madhya Pradesh (930), Rajasthan (926) and Uttar Pradesh (908) have sex ratios below the national average of 940, West Bengal (947) and Maharashtra (946) are just on the threshold.

– from The Hindu

Small town crime against women rateIn February this year, a woman in Indore was gang-raped by eight people including a cop while her husband was kept in captivity. However the cops took their own sweet time to file an FIR. After the Delhi gang rape case, an abducted school girl was found raped and murdered in Chennai. She was 12. Let us not forget what happened to Sonali Mujherjee in Jharkhand when her face was splashed with acid and her father rubbed his nose in front of authorities for 10 years to get her treated as the criminals who did this to her were out on bail. And lets not forget that 19 rapes happened in a month in Haryana and no one raised an eyebrow.

And of course, Delhi goes on as usual when a 3 year old was raped by the husband of a play school owner. This happened after the Delhi gang rape incident. Clearly, the deterrents are not working. Clearly it is not an issue prevalent just in Delhi.

We are all aware of the various factors in play here which range from treating girl child as a liability to attitude within the government (where ministers blame women and mock them) and the police force to dismal conviction rates. All these problems will not vanish by hanging the gang rape accused of the Delhi case. And I am afraid that is where we are heading.

Punishing the accused is only one end of the spectrum. It happens after the crime has been committed. But what about preventive measures? I found a link to an article at Smitha’s blog which talked in this direction. Do read it here.

At this stage it would be pertinent to remember that the instances of perverts making lewd calls to women – which was a common phenomena in 1990s – dropped to virtually nil within a few years not because the Indian male underwent some sort of moral renaissance, but because phones started coming with caller IDs, and in a way disrupted the script.

– from the article

There are preventive measure which can be applied. More patrolling, better lightening of streets, gender sensitization, education, teaching your children about respecting other humans and gender equality, drilling messages through media. It will not happen immediately. It will take years. We cannot root out all the psychopaths that we have created over decades in one snap of a finger but we have to make a start. The government can play a vital role in this but everything will be defeated if this is not done on a national level.

In India, it takes a protest of the scale of what we saw yesterday to wake up the authorities. Even though the ruling party did call a press conference in the evening, everyone looked bored and completely unconcerned. They were behaving as if all of us were wasting their time. They were throwing technical jargon like rarest of rare rape cases and when asked what that means, they had no answer. When Barkha Dutt asked Sheila Dixit that why doesn’t she go and sit with the people and talk to them, she smiled and gave incoherent answers. Such attitude will not take us anywhere.

When the brutal killings of school children happened in USA a few days back, Obama was on television the next day addressing the nation. And the president was not ashamed of crying on national television. We do not expect something like this from our Prime Minister but he could have at least addressed the nation once? Why does the ruling class treat the very people who chose them as liabilities? Where is the connection, where is the concern?

I sincerely hope that the actions taken for sexual assaults are nationwide and not a quick fix which will crumble with the next rape. There is a limit to which we can tolerate this apathy.