Before I start, let me make something very clear. There are many decent men out there in this world. Yes, I know that. This post is not about or meant for any of them.
#MeToo was a sensational status that stirred up quite a storm on Facebook and Twitter. There were millions to talk about this issue and that’s when we are not taking into consideration, the ones who haven’t yet dared to speak up and those who don’t have access to any of these social media.
And barely a few months after that storm, came the news of the most brutal rape and murder to be reported till date. My heart breaks at the very thought that a child had to undergo so much pain and suffering, all at the very tender age of eight. The fact that this premeditated crime had several underlying motives should be an indicator of how far this country has fallen.
The number of heinous crimes continues to be on the rise. Yet one thing remains elusive. The one common thread that ties together all these reported cases – justice. It is estimated that only 1 in 4 rape cases ends in conviction. Keep in mind, that according to the NCRB’s Crime Statistics 2016, a total of 38974 rape cases alone were reported. Shocking, isn’t it?
Almost every woman must have had at least one experience in her life, where she was made to feel uncomfortable in her own skin. The sheer number of women who have faced bitter experiences at the hands of the other gender is astounding. But it seems to me that it’s almost as if some men don’t know how to treat women. It’s either that, or they chose not to. The latter might seem shocking and unbelievable, but compared to all the heinous crimes these monsters are capable of, it’s nothing.
When I was a kid, I was under the impression that monsters only existed in horror flicks (and under my bed!) and that they only operated under the cover of darkness. As I grew older, I realized that there were so many different species of monsters… monsters, that made the ones under my bed seem meek and tame.
Monsters who no longer limit their reign of terror to the cover of darkness.
Monsters who think that the length of our dresses or the way we walk provokes them.
Monsters because of whom our loved ones worry themselves sick, whenever we don’t get back home at the usual time.
Monsters whose eyes never leave your body, scanning you from head to toe, with a scathing intensity that instantly unsettles you.
Monsters who think that women/girls are duty bound to keep their mouths shut and suffer in silence.
Monsters who belittle women and girls and strip their souls bare with their ghastly, vulgar comments.
Monsters who do not hesitate to torture their hapless victims, be it a lone woman on a moving bus or a poor, helpless child.
Monsters who do not hesitate to kill just so they can cover up their lust-driven crimes.
Monsters who never think twice before raping kids or the aged.
Monsters, to whom, women are just objects to satisfy their needs and demands.
Monsters who take out their frustration and lack of courage on their wives and kids as they beat them black and blue.
Monsters who demand their wives to get an abortion because the gender of the child wasn’t to their liking.
Monsters who roam about trying their best to make the lives of women/girls insufferable.
Monsters who think that sexual innuendos and making sexist jokes are absolutely okay.
Monsters who can’t resist from catcalling and whistling, whenever their eyes land on an unsuspecting female, especially if the said female happens to be alone.
Monsters who can’t quite keep their hands to themselves within the confines of a crowded public transport system.
Monsters whose appearances are deceiving, in stark contrast to their conniving, criminal minds.
Monsters who love to intimidate and scare women by (mis)using their power and position.
Monsters who revel in passing snide remarks and snigger at their own misogynistic remarks.
Monsters who make it seem as though “Male Chauvinistic Pig” is too mild a term to describe them.
Monsters, whose very existence, make self-defense classes a necessity.
Monsters who aren’t fit to roam freely in society. (But that’s what they do.)
Monsters who invade and terrorize our minds in our darkest nightmares.
Monsters who get off with a slight punishment or worse, none at all, because they have very strong allies who have got their backs.
Monsters who make you question whether humanity is, indeed, a dying virtue.
The list is endless. But I’d better stop now, or this post could go on forever.
These monsters can’t be tamed. The effort required to round them up and ensure that adequate punishment is meted out, is enormous. And let’s face it, that’s impossible. What we can do, however, is to bring up a better generation to shape a bright future. A future where no woman is made to feel vulnerable, scared or preyed upon. Every child should be taught to respect all genders equally. No gender is superior to another. But everyone has a choice to rise above the others and lead by example.
Protection and segregation by gender are not what women need. What we do need are changes in attitudes, perceptions, the penal code, and the society. Even a small change can go a long way. We need to stop watching/following movies, books and/or series that tend to glorify even the mildest of these monsters. On another note, women shouldn’t turn on each other but instead, we should have each other’s backs. Enough is enough. We may be the fair gender, but we are not a gender who should be taken for granted. And we will not be silenced.
But, what more will it take to achieve the ever elusive justice for the victims? How many more Nirbhayas, Soumayas, and Asifas will have to sacrifice their lives? How many more protests and candlelight vigils would have to be conducted? How many hashtags will have to trend worldwide to stir our judiciary into action?
Alas, these are questions that will remain unanswered for God-alone-knows-how-long. But then again, the fact that the latest of these crimes took place inside a place of worship would make one question their faith in God, too.
*This blog post should have been published a long time ago. But I had submitted this to a newspaper and I had to wait and see whether it would be published. As you might have guessed already, it wasn’t published. That’s when I decided to publish it here.
P.S: This is a longer, edited version of what I’d written originally.
Image courtesy: Pixabay
© 2018 Shweta Suresh. All rights reserved.