By Kanchana Banerjee
I live in hope that women would roam the streets without fear. That men wouldn’t behave like rabid monsters and, most importantly, that society would be educated and aware enough not to mouth asinine statements like, “rape can be avoided if the woman carried a condom,” “you can avoid getting hurt if you don’t resist”.
It’s an affront to basic intelligence and humanity to even utter such nonsense. We worship goddesses but treat women in society with so much disrespect. There needs to be a tectonic shift in the collective attitude of society towards women in general; outside on the roads, at home, in school, in colleges, in workplaces. Everywhere.
What is required is mass action; across schools, on the streets. This isn’t something that will happen in months or weeks. It will probably take an entire generation of teaching men to behave and teaching women that we deserve respect.
Along with this, the government needs to wake up from its slumber of apathy and inaction. What can be more horrific than seeing people rejoicing the cold-blooded killing of criminals! Yes, the Hyderabad rapists deserved to die but their death is also the death of belief in the judicial system, which in my opinion is the bigger of the two. If people lose faith in the system and believe they have to take action themselves, then it is just the start of an anarchy state.
Do we want justice to be dependent on mob sentiment?
What if tomorrow the same mob decides that a person who has eaten beef should be beheaded? That an unmarried couple who have had sex need to be punished?
The mob knows no reason or logic. It is insane and dangerous. The mob can’t be trusted to mete out justice. That is why a judiciary is set up, but if they are being ineffective, mobocracy is bound to gain prominence.
I am also hopeful that people become more tolerant towards diversity. This is the time to focus on much larger issues than religion, caste and creed.
Kanchana Banerjee is the author of Nobody’s Child (Harper Collins) and A Forgotten Affair (Harlequin). First published in eShe’s January 2020 issue.