India got freedom in 1947 and since then we call India as a liberal, secular and a democratic country, but are we truly free? Many people will say that yes we are a self-governed country and hence we are free, but every coin has two faces. The grim reality of our society is that it is still restrained by invisible shackles of social evils.
Women form an integral part of any society, not just biologically but also culturally. They have been an active part in decision making and cultural stability since time immemorial. Yet after all these years women have been subjected to humiliation, discrimination, exploitation, and harassment from ancient times. Many textbooks, manuscripts, and records have registered many cases of violence against women. The male section of the society always felt powerful over the female section and hence they consider it right to oppress women . Radhika Coomaraswamy identifies different kinds of violence against women, in the United Nation’s special report, 1995, on violence against women. The first occurrence of physical, sexual and psychological violence is in the family like abuse of girl child in a family , marital rape, use of physical forces on women, dowry-related abuse and family exploitation. The second occurrence of violence against women takes place in the general community like sexual assaults, sexual harassments, rape cases and organizational intimidation. The third act of violence is when the authorities don’t take legitimate reforms against this and when victims are blamed for the mishap. There have been more than 34,000 cases of rape reported in 2015 and still counting. People often blame the legal set-up and jurisdiction policies of the government but we forget to blame every citizen of this country including our own self. We as a society and the citizen often question the mentality and attitude of the perpetrators , but the fact is, it is us who are the real abusers when we fail to protect women, when we fail to make them feel strong, independent and brave and most of all when we fail to teach our kids to respect each and every person.
The only way our country will move forward when the women of the country feel safe and look out for. Yes, it is important to motivate and help the victims of violence but it is also necessary to change the opinion of women not only in the eyes of men but also the women themselves. They should learn to respect themselves and to be bold enough to take a stand. Until and unless the outlook regarding women changes, the victims of the violence will keep on increasing and the need to feel safe will become indefinable.
Written by SOMYA JAIN (Navaagat Volunteer)