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STOP THE RAPES NOW! Is anybody listening ?

the tears of a woman are stronger than the waves in the sea

I remember visiting Haryana for the first time, about two years ago. It was a short, pleasant stay.

The beauty and varied bio-diversity coupled with modern high rise buildings had transformed this otherwise nondescript, and mostly agrarian society, into one of the cosmopolitan and fast moving states of India.

I was surprised.

I thought that my relatives' were fortunate to stay in such a place where government took pro-active action in making the lives of people better.

But i was wrong.

I failed to see the 'real' picture, hidden beneath the exterior beautification and the modern buildings. I failed to see the entrenched patriarchy and misogynist views of the men, which had made women suffer silently, for years.

I failed to see why it had become the 'rape capital' of India.

They say the true worth of a modern nation lies in its treatment of women and children. Sadly, India, more so, the state of Haryana, has failed miserably in this regard.

The spate of recent rapes of more than 15 women, including Dalit teenage girls ( Dalit- designation for a group of people traditionally regarded as untouchables), has renewed the belief that women are not safe in the state where law and order machinery, stands as mute spectators.

Consider the following:-
About two weeks back, a 16-year-old Dalit girl set herself on fire and died in Jind district, after having been gang raped.

Another 13-year-old girl, raped in Rohtak, in the home town of the current Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

But these incidents failed to draw the necessary action from the concerned authorities,because about two days later, a 15-year-old mentally challenged Dalit girl, was raped again in the same town.

Each of these rape incidents is more ignoble than the other.

A 30-year-old married woman gang raped at gunpoint by three men just outside her home in Pillukhera township in Jind district.
A newly married 19-year-old was abducted and repeatedly raped for four consecutive days near Sonepat.

Almost in every district of Haryana, young girls and women have been subject to this heinous crime, in the last one month.

Worse, the rapists involved have videotaped themselves in the act, and threatened to circulate the videos to everyone in the village, lest the victim and her family decide to lodge a complaint or go to the police. This has been done with the sole intention of humiliating the victim further, leaving her helpless and sometimes lifeless, after the act.

One such warning was given to the 16-year-old Dalit schoolgirl in Dabra. And she even obliged and did not disclose how she was kidnapped-blindfolded- and raped on September 9, as she was making her way to her grandmother's house. The rapists sent photographs of the girl being subjected to their degradation, taken on mobile phones, to her father.

The distraught father committed suicide and the family was left to suffer more.

But instead of showing sympathy towards the rape victims and vowing to act strictly against the perpetrators, what has the police or the authorities done?

Complete callousness,irresponsible statements and inefficacy to act, have only made the victims feel further dejected.

Consider some of the outrageous remarks emanating from political leaders :

According to Dharamvir Goyat, Congress spokesperson in Haryana, 90 per cent of the rapes are the result of consensual sex.
A day later, State Education minister, Geeta Bhukkal, saw the rapes as an attempt to malign the government, stating it to be a part of political conspiracy.

Further, the Khap Panchayat, who have been known to act on archaic beliefs since centuries,have stated that the only way to stop rape is to lower the marriageable age for girls, from 18 to 15 years. This would allow the men to find brides early, and hence stop the crime.

In any other region of the world, such an outrageous and cowardly act, would immediately guarantee the firmest of punishments for the culprit.

But not in India.

Here any crime becomes 'political' in no time, and the parties fail to see the bigger picture. They fail to see that the life of an individual is at stake, and any decision by them, can make or break them.

According to some activists, it is not just the patriarchal nature of the 'Haryanvi' society which is responsible for rising crimes against women. There is more to it.

The huge influx of funds into the hands of the farmers, have resulted in more exposure to an 'aspirational' lifestyle and television and movies. Hence the previously agrarian society finds it difficult to come to terms with the changing society and image of a woman.

The growing visibility of women in public spaces, their increased participation in social and economic matters along with the fact that more women are getting educated today, have triggered a patriarchal backlash among the men, who fail to see women as equals.
The inefficiency of police and the failure of law, have only managed to perpetuate this mindset further.

Therefore i believe that there has to be a consolidated effort to book the culprits and bring up the conviction rate for rape.

Proper and quick prosecution along with strict legal action would act as a deterrent to curb the crime.

The people voted by us, that is,our politicians and police officers, need to be more sensitive while dealing with rape cases in their states. They have to refrain from making irresponsible and false remarks which belittle the dignity of the victim, further.

The fact that women are equal, and need to be treated equal, should be taught not only in schools but also at every Gram Panchayat ( local self-government councils of small village/town) level.

No act of violence or subversive behavior against women would be tolerated.

If we want a forward moving nation, then the safety and integrity of a woman, need to be kept first.

The message here is very clear- we are not inanimate objects. We have a mind, a heart.

And we have a voice. And this voice will stand up and speak, every time a woman is hurt.

Through this post, i express my solidarity to the women of Haryana who are repeatedly targeted.

I strongly condemn the shameful act of rape and ask us to be stronger in our fight against the crime. Together we will, together we can.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
Learn more »

Comments

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

THANK YOU, Mukut

Dear Mukut,

I am gripped and deeply affected by your excellent testimony. In addition to such clear and courageous representation of the truth, you have also taken a solutions-oriented approach. Your writing is eloquent and effective, and the women of Haryana are at least fortunate to have you as a spokeswoman, even as their dignity, honor and security are being stripped from them by backward, antiquated, barbaric views of your society.

I am recommending your article/story to World Pulse as a particularly strong and professionally presented one, and I am hoping that you will continue to reach out to this global community with your magnificent voice and great strength.
In doing so, you are already moving toward creating a better life for the women of Haryana.

With Respect and Support,

Interfaith Reverend Sarah

Mukut's picture

Dearest Sarah

Sarah,

Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.Your encouraging and kind words mean a lot to me.As we speak,more rapes are taking place in the state of Haryana.Recently women activists gathered there and held a rally but they were manhandled by the police.
Media and other social groups have strongly condemned the rapes and highlighted the situation on news channels and papers.

But clearly more needs to be done.I hope people come forward to create awareness and learn to fight strongly.Because only a strong fight would end this crime.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.Much appreciate it.

Love and hugs

Mukut Ray

wanja's picture

Thank you Mukut, I have

Thank you Mukut,

I have missed your writing. I am deeply moved by the pain of the girls you write about and angered by the callous attitude displayed by the government officials you quote.
You are doing a commendable job speaking up against these crimes and I join in condemning rape of any women regardless of her status in society.
I hope the government of India has heard the cries of the victims and will act sternly to stop rape.
All the best,

wanja

EWG

Wendyiscalm's picture

IS ANYONE LISTENING

IS ANY ONE LISTENING?

Yes, Mukut. I am listening.My frustration comes from not knowing how to make it happen as I am a person of action.

Keep putting the word out . . . AFTER YOU STOP DANCING AT YOUR WELL DESERVED FESTIVAL THAT IS.

Do we get to see a picture of your outfit at the event?

Ubuntu (I am who I am because of who we are together)

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Linda M. Ando's picture

Dear Mukut, I hear your

Dear Mukut,

I hear your Strong, Passionate and Determined VOICE for social justice, gender equality and safety for the women/girls in Haryana and other regions in India. Your voice speaks loudly for all the women victimized and threatened by the horrific crimes which should be put on trial and laws enforced to protect every women, girl, mother, sister, auntie and loved ones. We can not feel free in our own countries knowing the women you speak about are subject to this level of physical, psychological violence and fear daily. The VIOLENCE must stop!!!

Your essay and report should be shared with the United Nations Commission on Women, see their website at
http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/daw/index.html. It requires the WORLD to STAND UP and not allow this level of human rights violation to occur under the false pretense of economic success and modernization. I appreciate your statement that the "true worth of a modern nation is based on the treatment of women and children" - powerful statement.

Keep writing, speaking up and out with the support of the world community. They can not hide or diminish the value of women and girls. THANK YOU for being so COURAGEOUS, COMMITTED to SOCIAL JUSTICE and for LOVING these amazing and courageous women and girls.

With deep gratitude and in solidarity!

Linda Ando

With Gratitude,

Linda M. Ando

ChicagoGirl's picture

I express my solidarity too

Mukut,
Thank you for another amazing article. Your writing is always inspiring to me. You are truly an amazing woman. Keep speaking out the truth! Your are giving voices to the women who are suffering and cannot speak. Thank you for doing that. Thank you for informing those of us around the world.
I stand with the women of Haryana and I stand with you!

Keep it up!

Mukut's picture

Thank you all

A big thank you to Wanja, Wendy, Linda and Chicago Girl.

A BIG thank you for sharing your thoughts on this and showing your support. Your solidarity is what these women need to help overcome this battle.

Your encouraging words drive me to write more and bring to the forefront many untold stories.

Thank you again.

Much love,

Mukut Ray

SSD's picture

Thank you !

Dear Mukut,

Thank you for posting and bringing further awareness to our eyes. Yes, such heinous crimes need our full attention to seek creative and intelligent discourse to bring social reforms to light.

Similarily, I invite you to check my recent painting, as it shall echo your expression on this post.

Wishing you loads of success in your endeavours to make a difference.

In solidarity,
Shaheen

Mukut's picture

Dear Shaheen

Shaheen,

Thank you so much for your thoughts and commenting with such encouraging words.

Much love

Mukut Ray

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