Gurgaon rape: To bring change, we need sustained effort beyond immediate anger and protests- March 14, 2012

I try and not rant against the system on this blog, but when you read about rape everyday and then it happens in your backyard, it’s just too much provocation! I took a taxi back from the airport close to midnight yesterday and I was glad for the paternal polite sardarji who was my cabbie, while still wondering about whether appearances can be deceptive. I am not a paranoid person, but when brutal incidents happen everyday, it twists your mind, doesn’t it?

And then, to top it all, the police response is to stop women from working in pubs after eight in the evening. Sure, they caught some of the rapists, but I’m not willing to forgive an attitude that resorts to curtailing the freedom of citizens rather than taking measures to increase the safety of our city.

My first reaction, of course, is how easy it is for society (the authorities are reflecting a larger social attitude) to ask women to behave ‘within limits’. Just like recent incidents in which airline staff asked people with disabilities to deplane, the attitude reeks of a mindset in which women are considered weak, disadvantaged and mostly a problem.

Why can’t we do something to promote (among men and potential rapists and everyone) understanding and tolerance, perhaps by creating common platforms to bring people from diverse backgrounds together? Culture and sports, community building activities like planting trees, cleanliness drives…I don’t know. There must be something we can do to stop the ‘us’ and ‘them’ thinking. Urban vs rural, rich vs poor, modern vs traditional, boys vs girls……as a society, we seem to be losing our balance and lashing out against something. And I am, perhaps naively, convinced that rape, brawls and bad driving are symptoms of a problem, while also being problems in themselves and therefore we need to take a larger view and address the issue at many levels.

Of course, there is a disregard for the law and authority, which needs to be addressed by harsher punishments and better policing. But I cannot believe a rapist thinks he is right or isn’t shit scared when the police actually catch him. Then what makes him do it? What makes him not stop? Its insensitivity, the prioritization of his pleasure over anything else, the importance of ‘I’ and our own and the absence of an inclusive sense of community. If I were to actually know a girl who worked in a bar and see her as a normal person trying to earn a living, would I be less likely to rape her? (For that matter, I don’t happen to know a rapist, so its hard to profile one!)

I don’t know how to think all this through. But I do know that citizens have a right to expect governments to act. The action, however, must be long-term and two-pronged and a diverse range of citizen groups must be involved. Protests should convert to some sort of sustained communication, building of trust and spreading the message that crime against anyone is a crime against yourself, your community, your family, your women……..yourself…..

About ramblinginthecity

I am an architect and urban planner, a writer and an aspiring artist. I love expressing myself and feel strongly that cities should have spaces for everyone--rich, poor, young, old, healthy and sick, happy or depressed--we all need to work towards making our cities liveable and lovable communities.

Posted on March 14, 2012, in Politics & Citizenship, Urban Planning & Policy and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I totally agree with the police response….. Women should not work after 8….. there should be a huge jail, where all women should be kept after 8 so that there shall be no rape…… similarly we had riots against Muslims in certain areas, so all these area should have similar enclosure/jails for Muslims…… and in the Naxal effected areas, we should have even bigger jails so that all the citizens will be safe inside and the out laws can roam happily………. Independence!

  2. I am just wondering abt purverted people who rape silently….Looking around us there are n nomber of cases of Child abuses…What do we do abt those silent rapes happening quietly in our families!!

  3. Recently there was a Report released that effective Court punishment against Rape crimes was some 20%,National average,due to the very pathetic investigations conducted by the Police.
    It is a BIG, big issue,the Police are not trained properly,totally overstretched,not enough manpower,equipment,they are treated like “Servants” to their political masters.So what investigation will you get.Lack of proper evidence/Investigation, the guy goes free.
    As a Society we do not respect women,like you did in the old days.
    See how they are treated in the TV Serials.

    • and deeply corrupt as well, for whatever reasons. when enforcers of the law are corrupt, makers of the law are corrupt, we need to stand up for ourselves i guess! women should be gifted pepper spray for everyday b’day…and pepper spray should be made legal until the police force gets a complete revamp!

  4. I think we should demand that the police increase its presence in all areas of NCR by a 100% after 8 pm. Why should there be a lock down on our presence? Why not increase safety by increasing the number of police and police vehicles. I am sure there is plenty in the government coffers to get this done. Shame on our government to allow inaction!

    • More than that, we need capacity building of police force from top to bottom to change their perception, stop them from giving informal info to media, loose talk, proper handling of victims and media, sensitivity especially gender issues, etc. also, its a deeply corrupted force that allows prostitution and pimping to happen openly. you see it everyday in gurgaon malls after midnight. we need to demand an overhaul before they stop our rights! how dare they?

  5. I thinks we should enfore strict laws on our country,Its due to major loopholes in our law system people dare to do such type of crime.Rapist should be hanged to death.
    A rape victim fears to go to lodge compalint
    She is raped by the rapist,
    the society also rapes her and abadon her and after that our Indian Judiciary for such a long and traumatic trials.

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