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Are Women Safe In India? Are Stringent Laws Enough To Curb The Sexual Overdrive?

Women in India-a better half of Indian society, today, are becoming the most vulnerable section as far as their safety and security is concerned. When we turn the pages of a newspaper, we come across many headlines reporting cases of sexual assault, molestation, sexual harassment, rapes, trafficking, ill treatment of women in houses, violence against women in remote areas etc. What does this indicate? This certainly implies that there has been an increasing trend of such sexual overdrives in present generation.

Our supreme law of land i.e. our Indian Constitution has envisaged a dream of true social, economic and political democracy which guarantees the rich and moral principles of equality (of status, opportunity, law) for our citizens but this has not yet been fully realized.

Still our better halves are unsafe and unsecure towards the realization of freedom and liberty. It's unbearable to imagine the plight of women who are sufferers of such crimes. It's a jolt on the confidence of the women, of society and on our judicial system. Besides it has much of cascading effects which affects her life.

But do we think who is responsible for this? Is it only the lapse in legal system of our country or the police or the public where such incidence occurs or the Indian society as a whole.

We generally use to play the blame game for any such incidence and hence have not succeeded to reach to the root of the problem. For a better understanding we can say that any problem has definitely two approaches of solution, the first is short term or immediate solution and the second one is long term solution. These may be visualized as preventive or curative in nature.

Firstly, let us approach towards certain short term and preventive solutions. This would mean to have a multipronged strategy with the participation of multistakeholders of society.

As good citizens, we have a fundamental duty to contribute towards bringing an order to ensure dignity and respect for women so that she can also enjoy her human rights and fundamental rights with sense of pride, freedom and confidence. To ensure this at every level the society must work together to give an edge to the solution.

For e.g. women may be provided with such devices which could provide her location using GPS technology to a central control room of police or send messages of her address to nearby locations. But this requires a lot of work relating to scaling the enrollment of women biodata showing her photographs and her permanent or temporary address into a national database system.

Other area of interest would be reform in police system. Allocation of women police in every area and their continuous monitoring which also requires participatory attitudes of govt. Such interventions can also be a preventive solution. This also requires installation of CCTV cameras at strategic places, beefing up the police security systems and closely monitoring them.

Also reforms in our legal system is required such as stringent punishment which are non bailable in nature. This could act as friction to those who perpetrate crime.

Even though these suggestions are urgently required as proactive measures but since they require rigorous effort for implementation it may be not be practically realized.

So we must have remedial or curative measures such as fast track courts especially dedicated to deal only with these offences and crimes. These can be made responsible to clear the cases on day to day basis with fair trial as its core principle.

There must be allocation of woman personnel who should be dedicated to alleviate the trauma of the victimized women. As we have already discussed that these women victims not only undergo physical but also mental trauma as their confidence in the system and society is jolted up. Hence trained personnel are needed to boost up the victims confidence.

All the above measures and interventions are supportive in nature .i.e they act as supportive infrastructure to ensure and protect women from being victimized.

But let us also look to the other face of the coin. Since only ensuring a strict legal system may also prove to be sometime oppressive as the agencies enforcing the acts in strict sense may violate tenets of human rights which is also not acceptable. Hence a balance is required to be kept with while implementation also.

So far we have dealt with the requirement of stringer laws, legal and administrative system to deal with such sexual overdrive. But it requires further delving into the matter.

We all know that India has been a land following various social customs, traditions and certain sets of religious beliefs. These customs has a deep rooted place in the core of our minds and hearts of every people of India which has defined our lifestyle, our thoughts, our expressions and our beliefs be it man or a woman. This has given to the males, the feeling of masculinity in every aspect of their acts and thoughts.

Indian males have thus perceived themselves as physically, mentally superior than their counterparts. Indian women also have accepted to treat their males as superior. This can be seen as women still perform the rituals of Karwa Chauthh where they signify men as god.

Other instance can be seen in parents preferring male child over female. In every aspect of the life, women are denied or given less preference over male whether it is for giving education or access to health care. They are always required to be within their limitations and the male counterparts have freedom in this regard. This system thus gives a feeling in male that they are superior and hence dominate over women. This instills in male a sense of hatred against women if they see a woman crossing their limitations.

So the problem is just not the case of one or two factors, but a sum total of a large number of factors. For this we need to plan more integrative approach to arrive at a solution.

This requires a large scale and an integrated social reform whereby we need to channelize the potential of woman into the stream of development. This can be brought through measures such as real education emphasizing on the quality of education, through enhanced moral and spiritual teachings so that the seed of enmity which is sown through these customs and traditions gets deeply uprooted.

Moral and spiritual inclination of education will impart impetus to curb the sexual desires of men and women and would not let them indulge in committing such heinous crimes. This solution is an ideal solution which would need a more comprehensive support of all the stakeholders of societies.

Henceforth, to see India as a more flourished nation as envisaged in our Constitution, it is time we need to realize what is right and what is wrong and act in an integrated manner so that women can be channelized into mainstream of development and thus contribute to socio-economic prosperity of the nation.

In other words, we need to take action not by force but by will to make our country more secure and safe for our better halves and bring up reforms in the desired direction so that woman can also enjoy their freedom and rights ,and feel more empowered and fearless ,as entrusted by the Supreme law of the land.

Saurabh Sharan

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