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Millennium Post

No country for women

No country for women
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I’m not in a particularly good mood today. After a brief phase of minimal intervention, my mother has again started to discourage me from stepping out in the dark. I’m not upset with her, but I’m angry at nature for giving me a female body in a country that refuses to learn to respect it. I’m angry at our society that continues to treat women as second-class citizens. I’m angry at our system that is unable to ensure women’s safety. I’m angry because I can’t seem to do anything to help our case either. I’m very, very angry!

 By now most of us are aware of what exactly happened in that Uber cab, so I shall not go into the specifics. What I will go into, though, is the fact that yet again a woman was taken advantage of, threatened, abused, and violated in the country’s capital. Why? Why must woman after woman fall prey to depraved men? Why must women be made to feel unsafe in a society that is as much theirs as it is the men’s? Why must women have to pay the price for a faulty judiciary and Delhi Police that time and again fail to nail culprits and punish them adequately? The cab driver in the middle of the storm had previously been charged for rape, and was out on bail. Why? Why was a proven predator let loose on an unsuspecting population? Why was he not in a correctional facility undergoing rehab? It worries me that there may be hundreds of such suspects walking around in broad daylight, and all of us are at risk all the time! Why did Delhi Police fail to verify the driver? Somebody’s got to have answers to these questions. Let’s not term it as yet another ‘tragic’ event and push it under the doormat! Somebody’s got to be accountable for what the girl was made to go through…which brings me to the next responsible party.

How can you liaise with a person without checking his credentials? It’s a driver ferrying people, for God’s sake! What if he has a history of drunk driving? What if he’s prone to accidents? What if he has a criminal record? I understand Uber is only a third party app that connects users with cars, but I fail to understand why it didn’t bother to check if the cabs they are providing are fit or safe for their clients! This particular one turned out to be a rapist. On a different night it could well have been a drunk driver ramming the cab into a traffic signal and killing the passenger(s). Does human life have no value? Is everything about money and convenience only? A lot of debate across social media is focusing on the banning of Uber in India. I think it’s a step in the right direction. If you are going to put human lives at risk, you have no right to run a business! The other cab services in the country will now be forced to pull their socks up, and rightly so!

But, let’s not make this about Uber. This is about a woman who was raped by a proven sex offender. It’s difficult for me to fathom why women must be disrespected thus in civilized society. Are we savages? Do we wish to go back to the Middle Ages and put our women behind purdah? Is rape just a way of proving male dominance? Has our society really made no progress, and all this talk of gender equality is just talk? A lady friend remarked, “How could she fall asleep in a cab? So silly!” I was aghast. Its 2014, and it still is a woman’s fault if she gets abused. It’s appalling to see women not supporting one another. This is no time for spiels about better upbringing, gender sensitization, and women empowerment. Enough, and more, has been written and said. It’s now time for strict actions, actions that will act as a deterrent for potential offenders. I’m tired of being scared. I’m tired of my mother worrying about her child’s safety. I’m tired of being taken advantage of. I’m tired of not being able to live freely!

In a country where the Supreme Being is worshipped in the female form, HOW can women be abused mercilessly? Dear men, it doesn’t take long for Parvati to turn into Kali, lest you forget. Don’t test our patience, because it’s running out, and running out fast!  

Malini Banerjee is a snotty single child, mountain junkie, playback singer, Austen addict, and
dreams of singing alongside Buddy Guy
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