She is not just India’s daughter, she is everybody’s daughter! She could be somebody’s sister, mother or friend. And more importantly, she has an identity of her own, an existence to which she has a right to live in any way she chooses to. This is not about one family’s cry for justice for their daughter, it is about those millions of families who have lost a girl to the brutality of men and those countless girls who never got to tell their story and relive the nightmare everyday of their life.
There has been much uproar about the BBC documentary ‘India’s Daughter’, many views, discussions, controversies and investigations. There is a deeper message to all this. It’s not about who made the documentary, it’s not about how she gained access to the convicts, it’s not about how much of the story was embellished and not even about the girl herself. This is about all those girls in the world who have been raped, this is about the muted society that watches in disbelief and does nothing, this is about the people who say they have the right to dictate terms about how women should run their lives and this is about all the people who try to move the focus from a burning issue to controversies around it. It was shocking to hear the convict say ‘Girls should be submissive so as to avoid getting killed’. More appalling was the statement by the lawyers who said ‘Girls should not be outdoors in the late evening hours or that he would set fire to his daughter if she was out with a male in front of his family’. Who are these people?? These men who are supposed to be the protectors of law, don’t believe in human rights, let alone women’s rights. How can we hope to be protected when the thinking of the lawmakers is so retarded? Who is the bigger culprit here? The society that breeds such people or the law that’s lacks in protecting its people.
The focus needs to be on the issue itself. Many girls are being raped in the world every single day. The top ten countries with a high rape crime rate are: Lesotho, Trinidad & Tobago, Sweden, Korea, New Zealand, United States, Belgium, Zimbabwe and United Kingdom. India features in the top 15 list. This is the most under reported violent crime in the world. The stigma associated with it is another rape by itself of the individual. The laws that are supposed to protect people around the world are very flimsy. Some countries with low rape crime rates are Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Yemen, Indonesia and Armenia. This data is by no means conclusive because not every rape gets reported. There are many who stay hidden in the shadows of shame.
Change begins at home, change can be small. Parents need to have open conversations with their kids.Students in schools should be encouraged to speak up about physical violations. They need be taught to be comfortable reporting abuse as they would a robbery. There also has to be a call for change in-laws. These issues need to be dealt in fast track courts. There needs to be specialty lawyers who are educated/trained specifically in these issues. We need to look at other countries that are doing it right and look at what we can adopt from them. Society needs to step up and not be the passive bystander. If you see a crime happening, stop it, report it, and don’t run from it. We need to stop looking for a messiah to come save us, we need to stop pointing fingers, we need to step up and be the change we want to happen. Every person is crucial, no one is inconsequential, so stop waiting for someone to fix the issue. Every courageous deed is important and put together one day we will see a safer world for everyone.