By Amitabh Kumar
Sorry for that headline, sorry for bringing up this topic, sorry for even trying to discuss my ideas, but most of all I apologize for the violent patriarchal society we live in.
We were all shocked by the newspapers on Saturday, a brutal rape case, what is far more brutal that the survivor belonged to a comparatively 'well to do' background. Yes she was one of 'us', could afford a cab a smart phone a credit card which enabled her to download a wonderful app which makes commute for women 'safe' at night.
But the actual brutality of the matter is, we would not have cared/shocked/discussed the issue had it not been one of us! (Yup I include myself in the group of hypocrites!) There were other headlines on the same day, I have not joined a discourse on them, nor written about them.
- Vishwabharti school girl alleged rape, accused held
- Bangladeshi student arrested on rape charges on SantiNiketan
- Builder accused of raping former lover
- Ghost told dad to rape me: Claims 14 year old
We create these safe ghetto's for ourselves, where every one talks in a foreign language & in a foreign accent paying prices which ensure the foreign currency exchange rate does not burden us when we fly abroad. And in doing this we unapologetically ensure that 'they=waiters, taxi drivers, security guards, house helps, delivery boys' (it's a crazy long list of people who ensure our lives are comfortable but never will indulge in these comforts) are forgotten. They serve a simple purpose, are just tools to make our lives luxurious, "Why should we care about them?"
Tragic but true the 'safety' of our ghettos is as fake as the people who live in them. Presently the discussion has led to the 'responsibility' being on UBER, a phone app, which helps you find a cab easily. It has other features which ensure 'safety'. Does anyone actually believe that a phone app will be accountable for their safety? When the society/Police/Government cant be trusted!!!
What drugs are we on? The only reason why rapes happen is because of the rapist & because society collectively has failed that individual. In our amazing process of commercialization we forgot about the aspect of socialization. Violence is not just normal is it accepted & gender based violence is not just accepted it is appreciated!!!!' Rapists & rapes are reported upon like bollywood thrillers'.
(I know your brain probably went, stop sharing this #SaveThePlanetJargan)
Well trust me gender based violence is an epidemic!
No it was not the app which failed, it was the notion that a girl who drinks & hangs out alone at night is a 'sex object’, that is the failure we need to work upon. I am sure all the 'well wishers’ out there read the headlines and told all the young women' Beta, that is why you should not go out at night!'. I know we are afraid for the safety of our loved ones. But that is not the solution, immediate solutions include ensuring there is a quick conviction of the criminal, discussion/implementation towards creating safer spaces. Yes it will take 'a lot' of time, but if we do not have the time to invest in our safety & security or safety & security of our loved ones, what do we have time for ???
Closing down bars, changing phone apps or police commissioners wont bring about sustainable change, yup implementing justice verma commission report recommendations, gender sensitization awareness campaigns, discussion to curb gender based violence at homes/schools/colleges/work spaces is the only long term solution.
I am angry/afraid/helpless, probably most of us are. Will I return to my 9-5 earn to survive mode & just ensure 'I' stay safe and unharmed, or will I write a letter to my local police station/local MLA/MP/Governor highlighting the safety measures they should take. Will I ensure that dark street is lit up? Will I make it my problem? Or will the activist in me get lost in the daily battles of deadlines/ salary bonuses/ home/car/mobile/jeans loans ? Guess like most questions this question shall also be answered in good time!