No Country For Women

We all know how horrible Delhi is and every time we read one of these reports we thank our stars that we escaped relatively unscathed. By relatively, I mean we were lucky enough not to be raped. We have, however, been leered at, felt over, hooted at, made unwanted advances to and felt unsafe and scared every time we've stepped out of our homes. No girl who has ever lived in Delhi can say she has not faced any instance of eve-teasing, groping, mauling or sexual harassment - whether it be walking on the road in the middle of the day, travelling on a packed-to-the-roof bus, riding the famed Delhi metro, eating at a restaurant or shopping in a swanky mall. No time of day, no place, no mode of transportation and no amount of company can provide assurance of safety in Delhi/NCR. This is the reality. 

We are not stupid. We are scared. We take all the precautions we can. We don't wear "revealing" clothes when we walk on Delhi's roads. We don't talk to, much less argue with, strangers - male or female. We think a hundred times before we step out after dark, even to the shop two minutes from our homes. But what do we do when we are liable to be attacked in the middle of the day, in the bylane of a busy road, gagged and bound with our own dupattas? What do we do when a mob of men descends on us on one of the busiest intersections in the city, with a hundred cars just driving by and a police picket not 100 metres away? What do we do when travelling with a friend on a public transport results in a brutal assault that leaves us broken and naked in both body and spirit? 

And yet, all we have heard from the police and the govt are "tips" and "advice" for us girls, the victims, to protect ourselves and prevent such heinous incidents from happening. Not the perpetrators, but the victims are being cautioned. We are being told what to wear, where to go, when to work and how to live our life. No one stops gangs of drunken boys from roaming the streets all day looking for prey. No one steps forward when a man is harassing a woman in full view of passersby. No one tells their son or brother or husband to behave in a way that doesn't bring shame on themselves and their families. For apparently there is more shame in being raped than in raping.

This right here is the Small Indian Mentality camouflaged as the Great Indian Culture and Heritage, the way we as a society and a country think and operate. Where male dominance and chauvinism are nurtured and encouraged, while a woman's right to live freely has a question mark on it. Where a raped girl is likely to be blamed for being raped and the rapist is likely to walk free and blameless. I am surprised our great leaders haven't come out with a statement asking why the girl was out so late with a male friend, as they have done on previous occasions. Maybe because elections are round the corner and they need every vote they can get, even the one from a raped girl lying with her head cracked open and her soul torn asunder.

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