Safety of Women: Growing Cause of Concern

Since India attained independence, we have not been able to ensure safety and security of our women, their trauma of being targeted and harassed has become a routine affair. As a conscience keeping society, instead of taking effective action to address the problem as grave as safety of women, only mere lip service and generalities are performed. It has now become a topic of discussion in international media that Delhi, once renowned for its heritage and humane ethos, has earned notorious distinction of being a rape capital of India with reporting of as heinous act of gang rape as Nirbhaya tragedy. More shocking are the figures about ghastly stories on dowry deaths, acid attacks, domestic violence, honour killings, discrimination of women at work place and women being held hostage to cruel practices in matters of alimony, marriage and divorce in the name of old rotten religious traditions. The principle of gender equality in all social and economic matters has become a distant dream and is trampled upon under the feet day-in and day-out by overbearing patriarchal society.

The patriarchal mindset is so deeply embedded in our socio-religious culture that even the government is not able to muster required political will to create a structure to ensure equality and rightful dues to half the population. Without idea of equality being realized, sense of dignity and respect among men, for women will remain as elusive as ever; and vulnerability of women being attacked, harassed and discriminated will continue to exist.

Measures to empower the fairer sex can be suggested as follows:

  • The long pending women reservation bill should be passed by Parliament as soon possible to trigger political empowerment of women and through this process of social empowerment can be realized.
  • There should be willingness to bring parity between male and female in matters of marriage, divorce and alimony. The current debate on practice of triple talaq, reminds us of the dire need to generate awareness and enlightenment among sections of our society regarding discriminatory practice which diminishes status of women to a mere commodity.
  • Increasing representation of women through proactive measures in all government departments which include judiciary, police, army and other prominent services.
  • Anti- Romeo Squads, an idea which has recently been enforced in some of the states to prevent eve-teasing and other harassments of innocent and gullible females by vagabond elements, is an important step in the direction of protection of women.
  • The growing incidents of acid attacks on innocent girls are cruel acts by frustrated youth that compel victims to live with the trauma of ugliness and defacement for rest of their lives for no fault of theirs. The government and the system must take tough measures to ensure that such ghastly crimes do not take place.
  • Despite anti dowry laws, related incidents continue to shock public conscience and cause immense damage to the sanctity of marriage as an institution. There is need to have some social mechanism to curb this trend.
  • Domestic Violence is another area affecting the safety and dignity of women. Alcoholism and egos trigger domestic violence against women. Besides laws, counseling on developing compatible and accommodative attitude towards each other can do a lot of help the clashing couple to douse the fire of domestic violence and lead a happy and peaceful life.
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