1. Campaigners of gender equality and crusaders of protection of women’s rights are tirelessly and relentlessly working to spread the awareness of their equal right to co-exist with some freedom, power and choice in every walk of life as being enjoyed by their male counter-parts. However, despite all such efforts, nothing seems to be going right in the behavior of some unruly men in their attitude towards women.
2. On the Eve of 2017, Bangalore City witnessed one of the worst unruly scenes of behavior including physical assault, groping of women in public amounting to molestation on the prime road of the city i.e. the M.G. Road, Kammanahalli etc., After huge outcry in the Media and shrilling voices raised by many panelists on various television channels at least the registration of a FIR by the Karnataka police has happened for indulging in molestation, robbery etc. All said and done it still does not seem to send strong and stern messages/signals to the public at large so as to instill fear in the uncivilized section of so called “men” who are filled with lust be it under the influence of alcohol or otherwise.
3. Male chauvinists, claim luring and seducing men with scant clothing's and exposing their body to arouse sexual interest in men is voiced as the primary stimulant leading to the commission of such offensive acts beyond imaginable limits that can be unfolded even in public gaze without any fear of punishment by law. After committing such heinous crimes against women, the very same offenders and many other people from varied cross sections of the society issue advices/ warnings to women to dress properly and not to get drunk or attend parties, and to go out with their male counter-parts only within the defined relationship of husband, father, brother etc., and not to go out partying with boyfriends and other individuals who do not have any defined relationship with the women. These men succumb to be mowed down, scared or threatened by the miscreants, and may have a tendency to take care of their safety first, rather than to protect the women folk who have accompanied them.
4. Following the western culture in their dressing style, frequently visiting pubs and bars in the company of their boyfriends or male counter-parts irrespective of their relationship with them, is also frowned and highlighted as a major cause for rise in sexual crimes against women in our country.
5. Nobody has a right to confine a woman indoors in the guise of advice of providing safety to her. It is an accepted fact, that it is the men who have to be taught and groomed to behave properly in their speech, thought and action towards women. Avoidance of a situation leading to commission of criminal offences is a wiser option that can be followed by our women folk too. But it cannot be a command to permanently confine women indoors. It only shows the incapacity of law makers and law enforcers to make men behave properly in public.
6. The true independence of our country as defined and preached by the Father of our nation Shri M.K.Gandhiji was relating it to the freedom of women to walk freely without fear on the roads of our country even during midnight, appears to be a forlorn dream, and not a realizable goal even after 60 years of the “so-called-Independence. “
7. Lawlessness in Bangalore was exhibited in full glare of cameras and the footages that are being displayed by the visual media on various News channels are quite disturbing to one’s mind and consciousness, and makes us think whether it is the same country which gave birth to so many holy religions, and is deemed to be the abode of numerous spiritual Gurus and Acharyas over a long period of time ever since culture and civilization dawned on earth? This question keeps haunting our minds whenever a woman is forced to part with her dignity by strangers who have no right or consent of any nature from the victim to transgress into her body and personal domain of self-respect, irrespective of the fact that she may be drunk or scantily dressed or may move with other men by consent perhaps for giving sexual pleasure/company even for money. Even then, the offender has no right to invade into her personal domain or body by groping or touching her inappropriately or do any act physically concerning her without her consent. A woman of “less virtue” is the label that is very easily pasted on such victims and the offenders continue to preach “morality, discipline and character” and so many other intangible proposed qualities expected of an Indian woman. Such an attitude from the offenders is being propagated and supported by many political leaders and preachers of religious cultures and Indianism, forgetting for a moment that it is the offender who has to be asked to respect women and follow all these proposed qualities and not the victim. It has to be admitted sadly that the difference in upbringing of male and female children in families could be the root cause for many social evils more particularly sexual offences of such aggressive nature, and misbehavior in public without any fear or shame of committing such acts/offences. Boys as they grow have a different treatment regarding their time of coming back home in comparison with the girls of the same age in most of our houses. The choice of friends by boys at various ages are also differently accepted and considered by the very same parents who treat their own girl children differently perhaps for upholding the religious/moral values that has been inculcated into their blood for the past several generations. The freedom and safety of girl child is somehow wrongly interlinked as if it is largely due to the poor implementation of law and order in most of the cities in our country forgetting the erosion of ethical and moral values beyond repair in our younger generation. Restrictions are imposed in the guise of precautions absolutely intended for the safety of the woman folk in the families. It is sad that despite legislating several punitive laws to safe guard the rights and dignity of women, right from conception till her old age seems to be not enough to curb the menace of rise in crimes against women. It appears they are inadequate, or are not being properly implemented in opposing all forms of gender-based discrimination and violence against women.
8. The framework of ‘women’s justice’ involves not only the prevention of specific forms of violence and discrimination against women, but also encompasses all other forms of human rights in the domain of divorce, domestic violence, matrimonial remedies, guardianship, custody, adoption, property rights, sexual harassment etc. Some of the important Acts legislated in our country for the welfare and protection of the rights of women are:
- Pre-Natal Techniques (Regulation & Prevention of Misuse Act, 1994).
- Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
- Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956.
- Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act,1986.
- National Commission for Women Act, 1990.
- Prohibition of Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place Act.
- Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
- Right to Anonymity Act.
- Prohibition of Sex Selection Act.
- Maternity Benefit Act.
- Equal Remuneration Act.
- Section 125 of Criminal Procedure Code (Right to Claim Maintenance from husband).
- Family Court’s Act, 1984.
- Guardian & Wards Act.
- Hindu Succession Act.
9. The proactive shift that is lacking is perhaps a change in mind set of viewing women as a consumable for one’s physical pleasure, be it for lure or for satisfaction of lust. The sexually provocative pictures of women and the video graphic exhibition of women in films and other social media for business advantages is on the rise in our country in the recent times. On a comparative scale, the restriction of such acts in the western world is lesser when compared to India which may be due to cultural differences in the upbringing of children right from their adolescent age through their youth and adulthood. Moral policing in most of the western countries is almost nil and the State does not interfere into any private acts of individuals when it is within the realm of acceptable legal framework. The legal system is also so evolved to accommodate such discreet private acts, and there is no restriction of providing services relating to sexual acts or for practicing such an avocation of life. No raids by law enforcing agencies are conducted in these night clubs or other officially earmarked areas for such activities. Very recently, there was a shootout in a night club in Turkey (again a conservative country) where more than 30 people were proclaimed dead. Again this was an exhibition of religious fanaticism of intolerant persons which is a very rare incident. However, in India, there are many cultural tags attached to one’s private behavior, and censorship is imposed on individuals for such private acts be it getting involved in sexual relationship by consent, or watching pornographic pictures etc. On hearing of such activities it causes our faces to frown and our eyebrows to squeeze with a nasty image of the person who gets exposed to such acts. These are all some of the circumstances leading to the compilation of volcanic pressure of lust getting exploded beyond a particular point in Indian men. The science of sexual happiness by satisfaction of sexual desires are all aspects which have to be taken care in a private education system with the help of one’s parents and teachers at a very young age. Merely blaming men on the whole, or expecting women to travel back to the ages of kings and remain indoors, may not bring any change, and such incidents are bound to occur with more frequency. These acts are bound to recur particularly in view of the new vigor i.e. stepping into groups and associations claiming to be vigilantes who claim to be fighting for the survival of the deteriorating Indian culture, or the aggressive religious group who quote the religious texts like Bible, Quran or Geeta, which prescribe the proposed conduct of women in public and claim that no offence would ever happen if their respective religions were strictly followed.
10. This discussion may not end by writing any number of Articles, but a check and balance could be evolved by women, by consciously choosing the right companion to accompany them if they need to do all acts that their male counter-parts are doing on the New year’s eve, or any other occasion for celebration, which largely includes their acts and behavior during the celebrated night life in most cities of our country. Safety is for one to assess and practice by adopting practical tips though it may cost a certain amount of freedom. But is it not foolish to cry foul when one becomes a victim? However, it is not the intention of the writer to create any kind of bias in the minds of women regarding what they should wear or eat or drink or with whom they should choose to live with, or roam around freely etc. As stated in the earlier preceding paragraphs, it is only the women who could decide their conduct or behavior whether in public or private as they may choose, and no person has any right whatsoever to invade into their personal or private domain for whatsoever reason it might be.
As a parting suggestion I think self restraint in dressing and appearance in public would definitely avoid women being attacked by such ruthless hooligans. Without looking into who the advisors are, if the content can bring in some possibility of not being subjected to such heinous crimes, it could be very well practiced voluntarily by women until the law enforcement of our country is also as advanced and strict as other Western Countries.