I’m speechless! I just watched the BBC Four documentary India’s daughter (by Leslee Udwin) about rape victim Jyoti Singh and I’m speechless. But I can’t afford to stay quiet…
To hear what these rapists and their lawyers have to say about Indian women is beyond my comprehension. The fact that people can still think like that in a country that claims to be the 3rd largest economy in the world is beyond my understanding. Where has India gone wrong? How are we living in the 21st century and still holding on to the belief that a woman should not go out at night. That if a woman is out at night, she’s asking to be raped. They claim to be a democratic country and yet the BBC Four documentary has been banned! Why? Do they really think they can hide the atrocities committed by these men I dare call humans? Do they not realise the power of social media?
Today, with a heavy heart, I feel sad to associate myself with India. A land with such rich culture that is being washed away due to ignorance. A country that treats cows with more respect than they do women. People that will prostrate in front of their guru’s and then turn around and hurt another being in the space of 5 minutes. Taxi’s in Mumbai more often than not have either a picture of a deity, an idol or even incense lit in the front cabin while the driver uses his rear view mirror to check out his female passenger in the back. I had my bottom pinched at 11 as I was walking out of a church. How can these people look “God” in the eye?
When watching the documentary, I was proud of the youth who came out protesting on the 17th of December 2012 and all the men and women who still tirelessly campaign for women’s rights. But let’s not kid ourselves. In a country with over 1 billion people, a few hundred thousand protestors is not going to change the mentality of the rest. It’s up to the government, the people that the country looks up to, to make a difference, to be the change. With the government banning the documentary being shown in India, what message is that sending to the people? That to be raped is a shame? Something that shouldn’t be talked about?!
The sad thing about the entire situation is that these men, these rapists, they don’t suffer from any sort of mental illness, they’re not psychopaths, they are ordinary men, men with families, men with children who believe raping a woman is their right over her, to show her, to teach her a lesson. It’s their mentality and mind set that needs to be changed. Mukesh Singh (one of the men on the bus) who was interviewed couldn’t understand why such a fuss was being made of a situation that to him was so common. “When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they’d have dropped her off after ‘doing her’, and only hit the boy,” he said.
When an “educated” lawyer claims he would pour petrol over his daughter/sister and set her a light (in front of the entire family) if she engaged in pre-marital activities (sex), how can we expect the common uneducated man to think any better?! And while I admire the protestors who came out in the hundreds, I don’t think hanging these men is the answer. I think they need to be shamed, they need to be used as an example of what happens to men who think it’s okay to rape a woman. They need to live a slow and painful life and feel every bit of regret before they die. Dying is escapism, killing them is not truly punishing them.
If I sound angry, it’s because I am. I want my child to grow up in a world where women aren’t just worshipped at Diwali in the name of wealth and prosperity but looked after everyday. In their homes, on their streets, as mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and daughter-in-laws. I’d prefer to believe that the idea of boys being more important exists only amongst the poor and uneducated but it doesn’t, it sadly exists amongst people I know personally.
So how do we even begin to shift the mind set of the masses? I think we need to start by making our voices heard. By reading, sharing and writing so that the Indian government starts to sit up and take notice. Until then, I’m grateful to live in a country that encourages freedom of speech. In a country that brought forward the release date of “India’s daughter” before it was banned. In a country where, for the most part, I feel safe.