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For some it is news, for some it is gossip, for some it is an eye-opener but for some it is their 'lives, hopes and dreams'- murdered mercilessly.

While the world is applauding in praises of India's achievements, one can easily overhear the mourn of women. It is unbelievable that even today women feel unsafe in their own country. They have been taught to take care of their integrity by behaving like a 'lady', oblivious of the fact that their respect and integrity are in the hands of men. It is a story as old as life itself.

A woman's clothing, perspective, actions and reactions are always keenly observed by unnecessary audience which may sometimes also include her family. No matter how old she becomes or what position she acquires, she is always judged first since she is a woman. The fact that shocks most of the people is that not only women are told to abide by the 'society's dogmas' but are also considered as culprits when they are actually victims. After any incident of molestation at any level, the first finger is always pointed towards the woman; she has to be ears to various comments, sardonic sympathies, etc. All of a sudden she is either the 'bechari' or 'us type ki' kind of woman.

People have become so insensitive towards each other that they would stoop down to any level just to become the star of a gossip. Tarnishing a woman's image, beating her, molesting her, etc. have become symbols of so-called manhood. A man would go to any extent to prove his point or to keep his (fragile) ego alive.

A woman cannot depend upon any man in her life, she is not safe on streets, in public transports, public places and even in her own house. The fear of a woman with respect to her safety doesn't halt at her own place; there have been n number of cases where fathers, brothers and even husbands (marital rapes) were the culprits. This entire list of incidents raise various questions, few most important being:

Why is there no rulebook for men that tell them how to behave and act in the society?
Why are women told to dress 'properly', talk slowly, not to look around much or giggle at public places?
Why can't men take NO as an answer?

Many events that happened earlier this decade have shown the unconditional love of people that gathered around a molested child or a woman but not any help from anyone around during the time of the disaster.

A simple two-letter word could take a woman to a situation nobody could even imagine. It is not written anywhere in the world that if a woman is wearing a short dress or talking to men she is seeking for unnecessary attention or that it is an 'invite.' A woman living in a democracy has complete rights to dress, talk and behave the way she pleases. But looking at the cases taking place on a daily basis, it seems that a woman should first think of the consequences before choosing to live 'her life' according to her.

The exploitation and humiliation of a woman by a woman is not an individual problem. It is simply one manifestation of the system of male domination over women. Social tolerance of pitiable conditions of women is also a reflection of the patriarchal norms which, support male dominance in family and society. (Criminology, Ahuja Ram, 2011:219).

There is an immediate need for gender sensitivity among the people. The issues of molestation and rapes are not only confined to being feminist issues but as a major issue of humanity and equality. Men should understand the female psyche and not always put her under moral scrutiny. It should begin from their homes; parents must make sure that they are teaching their sons the right attitude and behavior towards women. Men should be taught that women are not the dependent or inferior sex. More and more women's organizations must be strengthened providing adequate education, awareness and training. A change in the criminal justice system should be made by introducing stricter laws.

Also, women by all means must raise their voices and take a stand even for a small issue. There is no law maker or Guardian in the world who would come for a woman's rescue at the time of her misery. Therefore, she should take all the measures to prevent herself from any kind of suffering or damage. The society often gives the victim a hard time thus, every woman should remember that shame is in felony and not in punishment.

"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim."

Yuttika Singh

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