India & Women: The Rising Concern for Safety

“India ranks 148 out of 170 countries in the Women, Peace and Security Index 2021.”

Our concern about the safety of women in India always ends with a basic but genuine question – Why is India’s condition when it comes to women safety gruesome, when the nation itself ‘Bharat’ is represented by a woman figure, Bharat Mata. I see my imagination occupied by all the paths India can take to make itself safer for women but every single time I tread on this path of imagination, I’m chased away by several things existing in our society, of which patriarchy and misogyny drive most of the vehicles.

Being a land of different cultures, traditions and religions, with every religion in a different way teaching to hold women in high regard, it’s astonishing to see the people of the same land crushing women and their dignity.

When we talk about the safety of women, we must keep in mind that there is a need for women to feel safe emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually with their emotions, opinions, thoughts, bodies and choices. With the biological challenges that women face over their course of life, with the burden of mothers first carrying and then raising children, with the challenges in the male dominant workforce and the traditions rooted in patriarchy, the biggest fear a woman faces every day and every night is the challenge to stay alive, like a prey, protected from the predators of her body.

How do we turn a society of monsters into humans? How do we convince the potential murderers, rapists, abusive husbands, fathers and sons, that women just like them have a heart and a brain, hopes and dreams and aspirations? How do we make the sick people in our society understand that our bodies are not to be taken advantage of, and tortured and killed, that our lives hold much more meaning than what their sick minds anticipate?

Monsters might never turn into humans but humans together can fight the monsters.
How? By speaking up. The responsibility lies on the shoulders of everyone who is sane. Speak up when you see your batchmates objectifying women, your father beating your mom, your uncle verbally abusing your aunt, your coworkers cracking unfunny misogynistic jokes, a troll on social media writing inappropriate comments under a woman’s post, a higher authority banning an important religious piece of cloth, and with it kills her right to choose what to wear. Speak when it’s convenient and speak when it’s not.

Living victims with trauma, and dead victims from their grave, victims of abuse, fight for years seeking justice, but is it even justice when it doesn’t ensure it not happening to other girls and women again?
The power that the policy makers hold is huge. The power to hold the society accountable lies with the justice system. The power to ask the policy makers what we want lies with us.

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