Written by Md.Hatif Osman, St Augustine’s Day School.
“Rape is such an offence which causes the victim and her family to suffer for all the life where the victim is totally an innocent party.”
Rape is one of the most heinous crimes committed by a person to control, dominate and force the other to his own will. It is a world-wide phenomenon. Whatever reasons might be behind it-social, religious or wars, it carries the same crushing shame, anger and emotional trauma. Rape is such a barbaric and inhuman act that it makes the whole life of the victim a hell. Several instances come to the light where the victim wants to commit suicide instead of living in this world of rapists. Still worse, she is forcibly pushed out to Kothas for flesh trade where she dies many times a day. Those lucky enough to escape from the hell live an unknown low profile life at some distant unknown place and in many cases, her family and society refuse to accept her as a normal member. No real sympathy is there for the victim except on social media and shouting slogans by some NGO’s or human right activists or other such organisations. The victim further suffers physically, psychologically and socially as well.
Every five minutes a crime in committed against a woman, every 15 minutes a malestation takes place, every 40 minutes a woman is kidnapped and every 100 minutes a dowry death occurs.
These are conservative estimates as they do not reflect the crimes that are never reported and if they are often not registered by the police.
In our country the woman’s sexuality is still a taboo.
Most Indian women are still very oppressed and don’t have equal rights. While most men already have a sexual experience before marriage, they expect their brides to be virgins with a clean character . Now in such a scenario, a girl who is raped, on top of the grief caused by the actual incident has to face the ruthless treatment meted out to her by the society and on the other side the rapist is declared innocent by the court even. Usually, the girl is treated as some sort of an alien and is subjected to lecherous and curious looks and if she is unmarried, she can not imagine to get married! It’s very hard to get a marriage proposal. Not that marriage is the ultimate goal for a woman, but a single girl is treated worse. The saddest part is Indian men give more importance to the hymen than a girl’s personality and virtues. Though, the mindset of people in the bigger cities is changing, it is still the same in small towns and villages which constitute the rumor part of India.
A movie released in Andhra Pradesh dealt with the theme of rape. In that film there is a dialogue referring to marrying a rape victim-“How Can a man eat in a plate in which someone has already eaten?” This clearly reflects the typical Indian male’s mindset. The rape victim is looked upon as if she is at fault and somehow asked for it. No wonder 60-70% of rape cases go unreported. If it’s an already married woman, the fate of the woman depends upon the husband. If he is a bit broad-minded he keeps her, if not-he dumps her. It’s not only the men, even the women have the same attitude. The women have an ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude and wouldn’t hesitate to shred another girl’s character just to portray themselves as ‘good’ girls. First of all, we as a society, must stop ostracizing rape victims and give all the emotional support they need.
The conviction rate of rape in India is abysmally low: below 20%. Unless the conviction rate goes up, there is little to deter the criminals.
Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 says “Whosoever commits rape shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall be not less than 7 years but which may be for life or for a term which may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine.” It cannot be a right approach to say that the punishment provided under Section 376 of IPC 1860 is not proper for such a barbaric act. One who is an innocent party, the victim, has to suffer for the whole of her life while the culprit is acquitted after 7 or 10 or 14 years i It is not justice ! Even, after 73 years of our independence, we are unable to provide the basic human rights to the women of our country.
It is said, we have laws, but what do our laws do? It is also a known fact that general inefficiency and corruption in the police force are responsible for the low rate of conviction in most of the cases relating to women.If as a society we change our narrow mindset, though we cannot cut down the trauma caused by the actual rape, we can give all the emotional support that the victim needs and see that rapist is behind the bars. This would at least result in the reduction of rape crimes in the country.
There are many other factors which result into such perversities. Obnoxious and deplorable portrayal of women on screen and in advertisements, coupled with uncensored display of female anatomy are some factors responsible for encouraging ordinary men to commit crimes against women.
Certainly, the battle will have to be fought in other areas also. But, still the law must be suitably strict to deal with such cases. Quick and effective administration of Justice is also required in such cases.We must remember that IPC was framed in 1860. Today age old IPC has been proved to be an ineffective deterrent to this growing menace. Many people say that nothing less than a death penalty would work to check such kind of barbaric acts. It isvery difficult to transform such devils who are extreme psychic cases. Only fear of death may deter them from indulging in such heinous crimes. One death penalty will make thousand others fearful of even thinking or dreaming about committing a rape. There must not be anything less than death penalty for the culprit who destroys the whole life of the victim and her family.
Atleast, the serial offenders and remorseless fellows must be severely punished, may be by awarding death sentence or by other means such as chemical castration. Recently, a Delhi district count judge appealed government to make such a law by means of which castration penalty could be awarded which could prove to be a strong deterrent and way transfer the social burden from victim to the culprit.
However, in my view awarding death penalty to a rapist will be the best move. If a person commits rape and it is proven , he should be beheaded in public. Though it sounds barbaric , it will be effective . It would strike the soul of the people. They would think a hundred times before committing such a henious act . Their minds would shatter and their bodies will tremble before even thinking about it. Another effective solution lies in taking resort to deep social changes. Why do some people induldge in such behaviour ? Can we address their early childhoods and social upbringing? I think we can and we should strike at the very roots of those factors which lead to such deviant tendencies.