A 17 year old high school teenage girl was gang molested in Guwahati. If we leave aside the Assam Police who took their own sweet thirty minutes to reach the crime scene; it is the incongruity of the public and the reporters who captured the video, which is more preposterous.
Baghpat Khap Panchayat in UP bans women under 40 to go for shopping and using mobile phones. As if this was not enough, these women were also ordered to cover their heads whenever they step out of their homes and get escorted after sunset.
A teenage girl was rescued from abductors and then raped by policemen in UP. A wife was brutally beaten and tortured by her husband in Goa.
These are merely few incidents that I have pointed out here. You pick up any newspaper or an online news website and you will find a number of similar incidents these days. As an Indian woman, I feel ashamed, helpless and petrified. What if any of these happens to me? It does not matter whether I live in a city or a village, whether I am at home or out, whether I am educated or not, whether it is a day or night, whether I am wearing a traditional outfit or a modern one. This can happen to any girl or woman anywhere at any hour.
Sometimes I feel culpable of being a woman. It used to infuriate me when people expressed grief over a girl child's birth. But now I wonder if it is the gender of the baby that they really woe about. In fact it is the constant struggle in the future life of the girl that bothers them. The notion of weaker sex is enforced and strengthened time to time at multitudinous occasions. The woman folk often face wrath of immediate family members or society at large to fight for their rights.
The cases of molestation, rape and domestic violence robs a girl or a woman of their physical well being. But what about the emotional and psychological trauma which occurs as a result of aftermath? Who addresses the lifetime tribulation of humiliation, fear, defenseless, vulnerability, guilt, rejection, anger and so much more?
I agree that such incidents do happen in the other parts of the world. But if you look deep inside your heart, you will be inclined to accept that these occurrences are more rampant in India. Blame it on the government, social infrastructure of our culture or the mindset of the people, the bottom line is that I feel intimidated and unsafe in my own country as a woman and a mother.
I often ask myself, “Indian woman – To be or not to be"?