By M.C. Linthoingambee
Has the increasing headlines and protests been able to appealed to the better nature (if there is one) of men who take up rape? Not yet, for the trend continues to grow day after day. There has been an increasing demand of pepper spray and defense classes at workplaces and schools but such actions are in no way a remedy to the growing instances of social crime for they still occur. Is there no safe haven for women? The list of the accused had outgrown from minors to religious heads and even retired judges of the Supreme Court of India. Kolkata is right now in the middle of outright outrage when a girl who was gang raped set herself on fire and eventually killed herself. While many continue to debate over the issue as if caught in a political war fight, what of the girl and her family?
There are stringent anti rape laws that are microscopic in nature in its practicality. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 was set to increase sentence for rape convicts, including life-term and death sentence, besides providing for stringent punishment for commonly occurring offences in India like acid attacks, stalking and so forth. Although the revised bill contained newly amended provisions in various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, Indian Evidence Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. Such amendments are based on books and theories and written obligations currently, as more and more accuse walk away with lesser punishment and not according to what was foretold. As per the amended law, a rape convict can be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than 20 years, which is liable for an extension. The real reason such rule does not reach the far end is because coming to such conclusions take a lot more time and various procedures through various courts. And appealing towards the human rights, perhaps awarding and giving capital punishment does not seem a rightful claim towards a convict of rape as per upholding integrity of humanity. So, what can be done? Does blaming the government and candle light vigil really help the cause? Perhaps it is time for the service of common man stepping up to protect someone of such crimes if it comes in their view. If you someone eve tease a woman, don’t walk away help because somewhere someone might do the same to someone close to you.
The United Nations does not clearly stand by the new anti rape laws of India as they say the new amendments in the legislations does not address all cases to prevent and prosecute rape and other sex crimes. Experts of the UN have lamented that the legislation failed to composite and showcase systemic gender inequalities in Indian society. Indian legislature perhaps failed to establish machinery which would attain an opportunity to establish a substantive and specific equality and non-discrimination rights legislative framework for women, to address de facto inequality and discrimination, and to protect and prevent against all forms of violence against women was lost as told by a Special Rapporteur, Rashida Manjoo. These new law formations were done in the wake of the gang rape victim of Delhi due to recommendations made on behalf of the Justice Verma Committee. Yes, changes were made but we often wait for a worst case scenario for calling shots at precautionary measures. Owing to the fact that rape is not the intended crime against women. Violence against women and girls in India manifests itself in numerous ways which we often overlook or loses mark such are, domestic violence, caste-based discrimination, dowry related deaths, sexual violence, forced marriages and so forth. In a far off village, in a far off country, in a far off house a crime like this may go unnoticed and it is for this reasons that we need to create better households where women are treated at par with men.
(M.C. Linthoingambee is an undergraduate pursuing B.Com. LL.B(H). An avid blogger, poet, a seasonal artist and a foodie, she is also a life member to the Indian Society of the Red Cross.)