Prophet Muhammad once said “Only an honorable man treats women with honor and integrity and only a vile and dishonorable man humiliates and degrades women.”
Women have come a long way from being treated as trade to now holding a position of presidency. Women are growing, developing, learning yet still enduring. Today we are trying to impact the notion of equality; we are trying to influence the world with conceptions of self-realization and justice. Just when we process that the world is a better place for women than it used to be, we get to hear cases that fail to measure any extent of devastation. This brutality that we talk about, how do we determine it? Is it not enough that young girls are being raped and heinously killed at abandoned lands where no one would hear their desperate cry for help? Is it not enough to determine this repulsive brutality where a woman exercises her right to deny a man’s desires but is shot dead instead? Therefore, the main question here is on what grounds does a man think it’s okay to violate this right and treat her like his domesticated sheep?
Evil customs and practices of the Indian society has ensured that the female kind is discriminated on grounds of sex and isolated them from the affairs of the world. These customs in the name of tradition has stripped them off from individualism and enslaved them to the walls of their household. Crimes against women and their respective punishments are defined under various provisions provided by Indian Penal Code, 1860.
- Rape (Sec.376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D)
- Kidnapping (Sec. 359, 360 366)
- Assault to outrage modesty (Sec.354, 354B)
- Domestic violence (Sec. 498A)
- Sexual harassment (Sec. 354A)
- Eve Teasing (Sec. 509)
- Chain snatching (Sec. 378)
- Acid attack (Sec. 326A, 326B)
- Stalking (Sec. 354D)
- Women trafficking (Sec. 370, 370A, 372 373)
The Nirbhaya rape case of 2012 is one of the most despicable cases in the history of our nation. This case has showed no mercy to the victim and still leaves us in tears. Nirbhaya’s case is a rarest of the rare case and the court was compelled to sentence the convicts with extreme punishments. This case caused an uproar not only in India but also worldwide. The death sentence was finally carried out after 8 years of awaited justice. It took 8 years for Nirbhaya, how many years will it take for the Hathras case?
The Hathras rape and murder case was initiated on 14th September 2020, a 19-year-old Dalit woman was brutally raped and left to die by 4 men belonging to the upper-class families. This case was conveniently covered up by officials and twisted to suit the needs of powerful men. This case has proved that the caste system is alive and kicking. It’s a shame that even after 8 years of struggle and significant pressure on the judiciary, we are entitled to such a society where some believe that they have a right to ruthlessly excruciate women just because they belong to higher social status or just because they’re men.
In a recent case, a 21-year-old women was shot dead outside Haryana’s Faridabad College. The young woman was shot dead as she refused to be kidnapped by the accused. Her resistance was the reason for her death.
Laxmi Agarwal was a victim of acid attack in 2005. Her only fault was that she didn’t accept someone’s proposal. Laxmi’s case gained a lot of spotlight since then as she openly shared her experience with the media. She struggled to survive, she had to undergo through such unimaginable agony but Laxmi never stopped living. Over the past 5 years 1,500 cases of acid attacks have been reported in India but the actual number could be much higher.
Human rights are the most basic and fundamental requisite in a society. Every individual is entitled to this right under the Law. Why can’t women exercise this right? Therefore, is it reasonable to have a woman endure such vicious schemes along with barbaric social solitude? We talk about high notions of righteous orders but why does the law deny focus at the remote regions of India that are run on wicked intricacies of our society.
Since generations the society has nurtured our thoughts with the dominance of patriarchal regimes and has kept women captive to only live a certain predetermined lifestyle. It is still majorly believed that a woman’s choice of clothes is provocative to men and that it is the woman’s fault to be outside after sunset. These conceptions and petty mindsets have drowned our nation’s reputation to the ground.
It’s not about women. It was never just about them. It’s about equal human rights, it’s about safety and protection, it’s about respect, opportunity and acceptance. Women, children and elder citizens by nature are weaker than men but that cannot be proclaimed as a privilege to harass them and conveniently avail them according to their personal wants. Indian society has been accustomed to domestic violence as they sanction the belief that husbands have the right to physical and mental control over the wife. These thoughts encourage young men to command and enforce their actions on women. They comprehend the notion of brutality to either gain revenge or to simply enforce their self-determined male supremacy. A wide variety of psychiatric and personality disorders have been diagnosed among sexual offenders. Often rapists believe that the victims deserve to experience violent sexual acts as the society has legitimatized such ideological dominance. These accepted beliefs have broken havoc on innocent women, women who wake up to an ordinary day and have no idea that they would be raped, shot, thrown acid on or mercilessly killed. It is absolutely unacceptable and void on all grounds of humanity that a person should fear to exercise his/her right to life and personal liberty. The day the society stops settling to such preposterous and catastrophic customs, maybe that day we can hope to see sincere growth and stop being labeled as a developing country.
Hajra Fathima, 4th-year law student, M.S.Ramiah College of Law, Bangalore
Intern with the ADR Wing of Prerna Foundation