Safety of Women Should be a Prime Public Concern: Why “Ordinary” Folk Must Speak Up?

Safety of Women Should be a Prime Public Concern: Why “Ordinary” Folk Must Speak Up?
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Touseef Bashir Mir

Revealed scriptures bear testimony to the fact that my opposite gender is not equal to me, but far ahead as our beloved Prophet (PBUH) said, “Paradise lies under mother`s feet.” William Golding, an English novelist once said, “I think women are foolish to pretend to be equal to men, they are far more superior and have always been.” He envisaged women as the better part of the society rather than men. These days, however, the thinking of men like William Golding has been merely confined to the dark corners of the book shelves where their visions of an equal society rot in muck. The once astounding poetic work of the likes of Adrienne Rich is now no more than a wastage of paper. It`s not that their work isn`t appreciated anymore, it is just that people don`t tend to adopt those messages they conveyed into their practical lives. Despite people working their heads off to spread the word “equality”, our society still continues to be male dominant, especially in rural areas. This male dominant approach doesn’t only end up discouraging women from utilizing their full potential in various fields of competition; but it also poses a threat to their safety. Numerous incidents have portrayed girls as the prey to the pack of wolves that most of the men tend to be. Brothers, who are supposed to be the safety for their sisters, end up flirting around with somebody else`s sister. It is almost as if girls are expected to suffer and keep their voice`s down. The crime rate against women has notably soared up recently. While some of them are highlighted for a few days and then buried along with the victims’ hopes of finding justice, failures of the judicial system on vivid occasions has led to victims losing faith in it. Due to this fact, most of the crimes against women go unreported only to the satisfaction of e criminals. The repeated failures of the judicial system have forced our sisters to tolerate the harassment they suffer at the hands of those criminals, every time they go out in the market. The impure and sinful mentality of those loafers, who happen to drive some sort of satisfaction from passing foul comments on girls, is the reason for a number of girls to give up their education. The tragedy, however, is that these criminals have no fear while they harass a girl in an open and public place, as if they know that there won`t be any consequences. People recognize those guys as sinful and exasperating but nobody does anything to ensure these guys get the punishment they deserve. However, there is an undeniable fact that in the back of the mind, everybody knows that something should be done about these guys persistently lurking around helpless girls but that ‘should’ is what needs to be turned into a ‘must’. While our leaders are, busy gratifying their own political interests, less is being done to put a stranglehold on the heinous crimes committed against girls on a daily basis. Speaking of crimes; the one that has been in fashion in this country since a long time is ‘Rape’. Every now and then fragile girls have to undergo this brutal and unimaginably heinous crime. While some brave heart girls have shown courage to step up and raise their voice against this beastly crime, the failure of the judicial system to provide them justice has forced a vast majority of girls to escape the extra harassment they receive by disclosing this tragedy to the world. Instead of receiving moral support, a rape victim is viewed as impure by the society and nobody is ready to accept that girl as his bride. As if she is the one who has committed the crime. Even when a girl explains her harassment to her family, the first thing that her aggrieved father will cry out in an ailing voice is, “Who is going to marry her now?” The fear of tarnishing her family`s name sometimes acts as a major factor to the girl remaining silent even in front of her parents when a guy speaks foul words to her. And even if her family provides her the strength that she needs to raise her voice, what does our judicial system have to offer other than an unending court case that will take ages and at a point of time, the girl herself realizes that she is fighting for a lost cause. It has been proved time and time again that these court cases end up nowhere. Consider the Kathua rape case from 10th of January 2018; in over a year, about a hundred trials have taken place and the justice still remains elusive. The greater tragedy, however, is that some political workers even took out a protest march in support of the people accused of this barbaric crime of brutally and inhumanely raping an 8 year old infant and then taking her life. Judging from such incidents of repeated failure, one can safely say that this judicial system of India is no more than crippled. And no matter how modern this era gets, until and unless the common folk do not step up themselves and act on their own to put an end to these repetitive crimes against girls, there is no way a father and a mother can sit back peacefully while their girl goes out of her home. There is no scope for women empowerment, women leadership or equal society until there isn’t women safety. Everybody out there just needs to keep in view what the Russian astronaut Valentina Tereshkova had to say, “A bird cannot fly with one wing only. Human space flight cannot develop any further without the active participation of women.”

—The author is pursuing Honours from Aligrah Muslim University and can be reached at: