The mass molestation incident that took place in Bengaluru has saddened, hurt and shocked everyone. The IT hub was once termed as the safest city for women in the country but now, it could well earn the sobriquet of the most unsafe place. As the city grows rapidly, people are becoming socially more isolated where nobody cares what is happening to the person next door. Women were silently suffering earlier but due to presence of media and sensitization of police, they are now coming forward to speak against all types of crime. Violence against the weaker sex brings out the manly demeanor of our society where oppression of women is deemed as a custom. While serious law reform is the need of the hour, it also should be taken into consideration that the planners, administrators, and law enforcement agencies work efficiently and diligently in that direction. Sexually molesting women is a way of life especially in the city. An act the police never prosecute and the public ignores. Women are routinely groped and harassed by men in buses and trains. The reason behind the occurrence of these incidents is due to vulgar display by even top grade heroines in the form of ‘item numbers’. All these adds to the frustration where the age of sexual maturity does not match with the permissible age for marriage. A piece of fool-proof legislation is needed to safeguard innocent victims.
I would like to point out that the scenario for women seems grim indeed and this will continue so long as the basic social and economic structures remain unchanged and the implementing and law and order agencies show indifference. There are instance where women are thrown out of their villages and forced to live like animals in the surrounding forests at the mercy of any male who wants to harass them. It was reported that the number of rape cases was increasing by all accounts as it is estimated that a women is raped every two hours in our country. Dowry deaths are also increasing day by day. The thinking of society has to change and parents must value their daughters on a par with their sons and should give them the same advantages and means of independence. The law which is implemented for this purpose must also demonstrate that it will come down with a heavy hand on offenders.
This diminishing social protection has made vulnerable, especially working and college going women in the city to crimes like eve-teasing, molestation and rape. It is noticed that the prevalence of crimes against women in a certain place depends on a large extent to the social ambience of that place. The punishment for battering, molestation, sexual molestation and unlawful threat must be increased. Projects must be launched for a better cooperation between the police, the social activists and other relevant parties. Government should come out with much more essence and urgency to check the indecent behaviour against women folks, and the need to chart out stern measures on the part of administrative authorities for curbing down such events. People also need to come out with determination against such evils and not be a moot spectator wherein a daughter, or a sister, or a wife, or a mother is crying for alms. Wake up Bangalore unless it is too late!
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)