Controlling Crime against women: a major challenge before India
Kanta was constantly being tormented by her husband and in-laws so that she could ask for more gifts (dowry) from her parents. Even so, she only considered herself lucky, for her friend Sunita was beaten for the same reason by her respective in-laws.
In the following text, we shall look at what is Crime against women, what is its intensity, why it is a challenge, what provisions exist to curb them and what more can be done.
Crimes against women include a spectrum of social, physical and mental actions to structurally keep women at disadvantage. This includes rape, domestic violence, dowry deaths, genital mutilation, etc. These mostly occur due to reasons as patriarchy and secondary citizen considerations. E.g., Khap Panchayat’s decision to punish a woman for wearing a pair of jeans.
And atop of that, the plight of women from Dalit or Tribal communities is multifold due to their lower social status.
These have made women look like puppets of the other gender in the name of social Darwinism. So has been emphasized by NCRB showing an increasing trend in crimes against women. Even so, this is far from the ground reality as only 10-20% crimes are actually reported.
Reason behind this low reporting lies in the fact that such instances often occur within the family or friends, and reporting is discouraged by citing reasons of family reputation backed by emotional blackmailing.
Despite of all such hurdles, even if the woman were to reach the Police station, there is a possibility of being mistreated there as well. In the best of the situations, her plea or complain might be heard, but then againthere is always multitudes of opposite behavior. These include- persuading her to not complain, questioning her in a disrespectful way, or sometimes even custodial rapes are a possibility.
To suppress this tendency, the constitution guarantees Equality, Fraternity, and Articles 14, 15, 16, 17 and 21. There also exist schemes like Swadhar Greh and laws as Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, Domestic Violence (Prevention) Act, etc. Despite all this, crimes are on the rise and a cure is possible only if policy measures are supplemented with behavioral changes.
This can be through gender based education and sensitization at schools, colleges and workplaces and removal of the mental block of patriarchy.
All this highlights the importance of the dignity of the “birth-giver” which should be protected with equality. This can bring justice to many like Kanta and Sunita. After all,
Yatra Naryastu Pujyante, Ramante Tatra Devetah
(Where women are worshipped, there Gods rejoice)
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