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Mandar Shinde

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Crimes against Women and Reforms

It may appear that crimes against women are on rise recently. Also, a crime against woman may be considered as just another crime, to be justified by a strong punishment. Both of these are misconceptions, rather ignorant and immediate statements. There are certain hidden aspects of the issue.

The reason behind comparatively higher number of crimes against women recently could be the increased number of 'reported' cases. Women (and their families) are coming out with determination for justice, in recent times. They are overcoming the guilt and fear of social embarrassment, which were preventing them from reporting crimes, in the past. More reporting instances can give justice to more victims. Also, it would give out a strong message to potential criminals that they would not get away so easily. In this sense, the courage shown by victims and support offered by their families can help actually reducing potential instances of heinous crimes against women. And this applies to all levels of society - from rich to poor, from educated to illiterate, from urbanites to villagers...

The second ignorant consideration of crimes against women is treating them as just another crime like theft and murder. Why is a woman sexually assaulted, instead of being beaten up or murdered? It's because 'rape' is worse than 'murder' for a woman. So, crimes like rape and eve-teasing may have motives of demoralising a woman, and mental harassment for life. A man can 'teach a lesson' to a woman by hurting her 'character' and 'purity'. So, this reads much more beyond sexual hunger of the criminal. Blackmailing a woman about her 'relationships', deforming her face by throwing acid, and sexual assault are tools used against woman's confidence and moral. The victim is actually helpless in such cases, as she has to face the trauma twice. First, when attacked by the criminal, and second, when demoralised by family and society. Strong punishment to the criminal can be considered as half justice here.

For the second part, attitude change is required in the atmosphere around victim (or around women, in general). In a case of burglary, the house owner is never considered as guilty or embarrassed. But in case of a rape or similar crime, the society looks down upon the victim who is already physically hurt. Even the thought of future embarrassment for family frightens the victim more than the actual crime being conducted against her. This happens in unpredictable crimes out on the streets as well as in hidden cases of mental and physical torture behind closed doors. The society should take efforts to build confidence in every woman's mind that reporting a crime and seeking justice is her right. Women need to be mentally and morally empowered to overcome the fear of social embarrassment and guilt. Then, any potential criminal would dare not think of using a woman's 'character' against her own confidence and moral!

Mandar Shinde


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