Severe punishment, sustained socialization

What happened in Delhi recently calls for a wider debate

DEBATE

BASARAT HASSAN

The recent rape in the capital has exposed how vulnerable woman are. National capital in the past has been the site of great terror and human suffering particularly in the context of gender violence. If it can happen in a place like Delhi where the institutional mechanism to deal with such things is swifter than at other places, one wonders what would be the plight of rape victims in the rest of the country. And how can we prevent the occurrence of such a heinous crime in the far off places, when we fail to do it in the National capital? 
A close analysis of the incidents would unmask a bitter truth, those in possession of material wealth consider women are ‘objects’. Their perception and firm belief in ‘money power’ and ‘political affiliation’ allows them to devastate the life of victims. The debate should, however, not conclude with this, that poor are more vulnerable to rape. There are incidents where the equation is just reverse. But modern Indian history is replete with such examples wherein the rape victims have been largely poor, needless to mention women belonging to weaker section.
Rape incidents reflect that women remain weak and vulnerable. Perhaps the Bandit Queen was right; “poor and lower caste women have been always considered property by the rich” Thus, rich considers rape a right not a violation of law!
    In the past, rape incidents have brought national outrage like the current one, but every time promises are made to take stern action, government fails to deliver anything substantial before a new case comes up. Laws which are fragile and allow rapists to walk free need to be reframed and made harsher to set examples for every citizen rather. Moreover, the immediate need is not only to identify perpetrators, but reasons, which allow them to act like this. Legal instruments that evict them on the basis of ‘lack of appropriate evidence’ need to be revisited. Laws pertaining to sexual assault seem discriminatory, where if the victim is a major; it is up to her to prove her charge and in majority of cases victims are further humiliated and ridiculed.
The sensitivity of the crime presses for quick and stringent measures to ensure security to women. Consistent campaigns are required to sensitize people at large so as to arouse a common public opinion that a heinous crime like rape will not be tolerated at any cost. In the light of increasing crimes against women, capital punishment merits debate. But mere punishments would not be get rid of crime like rape,  the capital punishment should be mixed with reforms in elementary socialization. Alterations in elementary socialization calls for immediate execution, which would result in educating wider public about respecting and honoring women, rather than being hell bent to express masculinity in the form of gender oppression like rape.

Author is Research Scholar Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Reach him at basarathassan@gmail.com

Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 19 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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