Thursday, 15 March 2012

Silence Supports Violence, speak out loud against Rape!

By Ranjani Raghunathan, Intern – Media & Communication Division
On Tuesday, 13th March 2012, we all got up to the news of a woman pub employee in Gurgaon, gang raped while on her way back home from work. It bothered all of us, but most of us, shrugged it aside. Delhi NCR has become notorious for rape- what can really be done? thought most of us.

The youth of Delhi NCR however, thought differently. They didn’t see the rape as just an incident of crime; what they saw was a shocking reflection of the society as a whole, where pulling a woman out of a car and raping her is so very easy, and for that same woman to get justice, is tremendously difficult. Tuesday saw a host of angry Twitter conversations, blog posts, Facebook statuses and SMSes, which gained further momentum after Deputy Commissioner of Gurgaon PC Meena stated that women employees in Gurgaon should stop working after 8 p.m. This prompted Must Bol, a youth initiative, to do something concrete. Says Manak Matiyani of Must Bol “The news and the reaction of the police angered me, and I knew that something had to be done. The first step was to express solidarity, and gather people.” So the idea of a march was floated, organizations such as Halabol, Jagori, Breakthrough and CSR joined in, and spread the word across social media. The result? Close to 250 people from Delhi NCR gathered at Sahara Mall, Gurgaon on Wednesday evening, to express solidarity for the rape victim, and to protest against the increasing rise of rape in the country.

The march comprised of many people from various walks of life & it also included nongovernmental organizations. Rape is not just a gender issue, or an issue which affects only women- it is a social issue, and affects each and every one of us. Rape doesn’t see class or caste boundaries, or what you are wearing, or where you are working; it can happen to anyone, any time, yes even before 8 p.m. And even if it has never happened to any of us, or someone we know, the fear of rape is deep ingrained in each one of us.

The people gathered at Sahara Mall on Wednesday evening, weren’t protesting for something magnificent- they were not anti-government, nor did they ask for any change in government policies. All they wanted to convey was that it shouldn’t be this easy to rape a woman, to violate her rights. Says Matiyani, “We wanted to get across the point that the police needs to prevent and stop these things. There has to be a fear of punishment, which can only happen if the police stands up. There has to be greater security.”

Where does this movement go from here? Matiyani says that many groups in Gurgaon, such as Gurgaon Walkers, Gurgaon Moms, have gotten mobilized, and want to follow up on this case, and the larger issue of security, further. A few more protests and sit-ins are planned. The people are very angry and it is important that this anger is communicated effectively and strongly to the stakeholders who can really make a difference. But in addition to this, a change needs to be brought about in the attitudes of people- that rape is NOT okay and that NO woman asks for it, regardless of what she’s wearing or where she’s working, or what time she leaves office. When a single woman is raped, its the society at large which gets wounded. And it’s high time we as a nation realize the extremity of the situation at hand and work against it in every manner possible.

1 comment:

  1. WHAT CAN WE DO?????