Nirbhaya, Jisha, the Bangalore School Rape case, the Delhi child abuse case…
…it goes on and on…
These are some of the headlines that I have been reading on this ‘sensational’ rape and murder case. ‘Sensational’ not because it was nothing less than cannibalism, but because it happened at a very promising time for our politicians. Election campaigns are on and what better timing for ‘a rape’ to occur. And no one seems to be bothered about the girl, her mother or the accused or the brutality of the crime. Everyone is giving it a new twist.
North vs South.
This government vs that government.
It has nothing to do with any of these political claims.
Jisha was a woman. She was a law student. She was single. She was staying alone with her mother, a single parent. These are the only facts that should matter to those who actually want to protest against atrocities on woman. All we need are better laws for safety of women and children, gender sensitization at school/college levels, a vigilant and proactive police force and fast track courts with immediate judgements.
I am from Kerala. And I make this statement that though I love my hometown much more than any other place on earth, I cannot claim that it is safe or safer for women and children. My first experience of abuse was when I was eight and travelling with my mother and sister to my hometown in a train. This gentleman who was from my own state felt it necessary to push me against a wall and press my chest. I had no clue what joy he found by terrifying me. That was just the beginning.
I had been to Raagam Theatre in Thrissur with my Mom and an aunt to watch Gandhinagar 2nd Street. This guy kept massaging me from behind through the gaps between the seats. I froze and did not utter a single word. A little later I heard my aunt whispering something to my mother and we left the theatre midway through the movie. I was about nine or ten.
Travelling early in the morning at five in a bus headed for Guruvayoor (50kms from my native place) meant getting pinched and rubbed against from the sides, or legs that offered free and unsolicited caressing. Muthachan (grandfather) and ammavan (uncle) had given strict orders to not be out beyond 6 pm. Our tharavad (ancestral home) is on the main the road and the bus stop is right in front of our gate. Though the house was at a distance of about 100 meters from the gate, we were not allowed to be sitting on the window sill or moving around the front yard. Though it was difficult to understand the reasons as a child, I did understand them as I grew.
Whistling, groping, pinching, rubbing against our ‘fully-covered’ bodies, falling on us from behind, stalking, eve-teasing are all some of the incidents that I have experienced in Kerala, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Vishakhapatanam, Bhubaneshwar, Goa, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. And so I would not like to debate on South is safer than North or West is better than East. These men were not necessarily drunk. Not all of them were uneducated. Not all of them were immature school/college boys. Not all of them were native or migrant workers. And none of them were provoked by me by way of talking, dressing or anything else. I have seen even old ladies getting subjected to similar assaults. These are done by psychopaths. No. They are not even eligible to be put in an asylum with the inmates who are suffering from real mental health issues. These men have nothing wrong with them except that they do not respect women or children. In fact, they do not respect humanity.
As I commented on one of my friends’s post on this issue stating that my state is unsafe, a young man from my own state took offence that I was demeaning my state. I was only accepting the truth as it is. His arguments and counter-arguments showed that he was in no way bothered about the girl who was raped and murdered. And he proved my statement by addressing many of us by derogatory terms. And yes, there were men (not just from my state) who were voicing their support with facts rather than proving the safety aspects of a particular state or region. If our younger generation still goes by these political divides, how will we ever find real freedom from all kinds of atrocities?
I heard that many people (including women) had commented that ‘She was staying alone and must have provoked those men. She had to be punished.’ I am shocked. She was a woman. You are a woman. How can you not feel the pain she would have been through? How can you so easily ignore the cries of her mother? How can you forget that you are also a mother or a daughter?
The CM visited the wailing mother after five days when the public outrage began. He could not have afforded to miss this opportunity that could provide him front page headlines with photographs during these election campaign days. Not just the current CM, what did all others do in all these years to protect women? What did they do to let us walk fearlessly through our own land?
Following is a part of the email I received this morning as I was working on this post.
“Does a rapist looks into the bio data of his prey before doing the act to ascertain that the victim is a lower or a higher caste? Or does an atrocity of such kind to a so-called high-class girl anywhere inferior to what would happen to a lower caste? We should actually discuss Jisha and not on Jisha “the Dalit”. Unless and until we stop talking about caste we will never be able to remove this from our society.
If women need liberation then they should come out from this unwanted politics like caste, region/religion and focus more on being a woman. Atrocity to any women irrespective of caste, religion, nationality should be weighed in the same balance or else we will be fighting a lost battle where the caste and religion take an upper hand than womanhood.
I wrote this as you might be able to reach it to many women .”
This was sent to me by a man who happens to be from Kerala and was educated in Kerala. This is only to prove that there are men. The ones who respect a woman for being a nurturer. For being who she is. And then there are these predators and scavengers. Irrespective of caste, economic, educational and social backgrounds, region and religion.
Having heard so many versions on this issue there are a few points that are troubling me a lot. Jisha would have screamed for help. She would have cried loudly. Didn’t any of her neighbours thought it necessary to check on her? Didn’t they feel they should alert the local police? And who gave the police officials the right to declare her mother as insane? Did they have any medical investigation to support their claim? Why was the post-mortem done in a hurry by a student and not a police surgeon? What was the hurry for the body to be cremated, this being a rape and murder case?
I pity those b******s who had to prove their manhood by scavenging a fellow human’s body. That too so brutally. May they never find peace. May they rot in hell.
We must stand for each other. As fellow pedestrians. As neighbours. As colleagues. As acquaintances. As complete strangers. As citizens of this country. As fellow human beings. If each of us learn to stand for another, these predators (who are negligible compared to the rest of the nation) will not have the courage to step forward.
Let’s focus on the crime and not on the caste, region, religion or occupation. Let’s fight it for ourselves. Let’s fight it for our girls. Let’s fight for our rights!