Women in my land- the unsafe truth
India is far from being the land of equal opportunities. Many would see the growing economic prowess as a sign of further development but the fact remains that amidst this development, the women of my country still have to struggle...sometimes even for their birthrights. It is like an ongoing battle- the battle to live, to love, to survive, to be safe and to say no. Some win, most lose, others just endure. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the famous social reformer and Independence fighter of my country once said " Freedom is our birthright, and i shall have it." Little did he know that the freedom he was striving for, would lose its meaning somewhere by the same people who advocated his beliefs and promised to follow his ideals. His words ring in my ears every time i hear or read about a woman being raped, molested, burnt alive, sold or brutally attacked by acid.It makes me think that does freedom depend on gender too?? Such increasing trends of violence against women, especially the recent acid attacks on them, have only made me cringe, shudder with fear, angry and my heart bleed. The victims in such cases are mostly young girls, pursuing studies in college, who are repeatedly made to pay the price for speaking their minds. Shocking and bizarre reasons are given later on to validate the stand of the perpetrators. Mostly jilted lovers and boys from the victims' own locality commit the heinous act of throwing acid on them when the girl refuses to oblige to their sexual favours. In one such case, in the city of Ranchi, a young girl, NCC ( National Cadet Corps) member was attacked by acid by four to five boys of her locality, in her own house at night, simply for refusing to have sex with one of them. Shocking! What is more disturbing is that out of the five boys, two were still minors who helped in committing such an act. The girl , reeling under immense pain and shock, had appealed for euthanasia from the state government as her parents faced a tough time gathering enough funds for their daughter's surgery. Few arrests were made but the culprits were let off on bail few months later. This is the price she paid for saying no and standing up for her dignity. What made matters worse, is that the perpetrators continued to harass the family asking them to take back their complaint or be ready to face more such attacks.This is just one of the many cases reported in the media.There are more. Post this attack, the culprits have not only become more unabashed but vowed to spread more evil.Posters outside city colleges threatened in big bold letters of more acid attacks to girls who chose to wore jeans and a top while stepping out of their houses. This has only led to more fear among parents and restricted the freedom of girls.The authorities have given up saying these are the works of local goons who are otherwise harmless, hence the inaction against them. I ask when will this stop? or how do we cope with such a situation? Stricter laws would definitely help in curbing and conviction rates would have to be higher to teach the culprits a lesson. Letting the perpetrators free on bail serve no purpose. It only encourages the next person to commit more such crimes. Very harsh punishment along with more coverage in media and newspapers might help the situation and spread awareness. If the local media, newspaper and authority could also highlight and reward the person who comes forward and reports such crimes, then more and more culprits would be behind bars.Rather than focussing only on the negativity, care should be taken to be more tolerant towards the victims.Women must be stronger and assured of every possible help.Education, which i believe starts at home first,should teach to discourage any action that holds the capacity of destroying somebody's life. Teachings which upheld the respect the dignity of a woman, should be taught from a very young age. Freedom taught and freedom practiced cannot be different. We cannot allow it to depend on the gender of a person. Freedom is our birthright, let us not restrict it to one gender only.