This world does not seem to be for women.
If you summarize the history of how women have been treated in the past, an image of a battered and a bruised woman with her clothes ripped off would be sufficient.
Hands have been clapped over their mouths whenever they have uttered protests, their arms have been wrung behind their backs when they have lashed out in retaliation and this has been done again and again until the next outrage.
I say the next outrage because a crime, even a heinous one, does not change the outlook of the society. The Nirbhaya rape case was indescribable. The stories of what her rapists did to her were the stuff horror stories can be made of. You cannot just read about what happened to her on a full stomach.
That should have something, right?
Except, it really didn’t. Yes, the government drafted a new legislation against sexual abuse and people across the country became aware of the crime but nothing really happened. The Nirbhaya rape case took place in 2012. The number of registered rape cases in 2012 were 24,923. The number of women raped in the next year of 2013 was 33,707.
Crime against women has only gone up. And it is not just in rural areas. It is in every area – even the urban ones.
And if you thought that metropolitan cities were relatively safer, our national capital is infamous to the extent that women would not prefer moving to New Delhi even for a lucrative job offer.
Then there is the Bangalore New Year’s Eve incident when women were openly molested on open roads by crowds of men.
When I consulted with women I knew they said that this is routine. Women get groped far more regularly in broad daylight and in public places like on buses and trains. Their recollections are graphic. The only difference is that these “small” incidents do not get publicity since it is not a big city or it was not recorded or just because the woman thought it would be a good thing to just shut up about it.
If the problem is so omnipresent, then what’s the solution?
Well, one can be that the women can always speak out, right? I mean, free speech.
Which has already happened. Women have been speaking out for a long time now. They have raised and broken the glass ceiling. But among the people with patriarchal mindsets, this action is mostly ignored and laughed at.
Make a woman stand in the town center and make her speak about equality and women’s rights – they will be laughed at, leered at and probably ignored.
Um, they could gather in a non-violent protest – in big numbers and shout slogans. The way Gandhi did?
This also has happened. Remember the time after Nirbhaya? Women came out in big crowds. The best outcome that comes out of these protest marches – a sad piece of legislation that does nothing. It is, after all, a piece of law. And the law is nothing unless enforced. And who enforces it? The police.
We all know how much faith our women have in our police or how well our police treats women in general.
It is also important to remember that law is enforced only after the crime has been committed. The damage is done – mental and physical. Not to mention social too. Even if the woman has nerves of steel and comes out with a touching FB post on Humans of Bombay, the state of mind does not change.
And women can’t just protest every time a rape happens. Everyone has a life to live.
Or, or, they can take to the social media and try to educate men?
This has as much social effect as changing your Facebook profile picture filter.
What women need to do is fight back.
Or before they “fight back”, it is critical that they learn to fight. Not at a competitive stage like the popular movie – Dangal. But at a core cultural stage that makes self-defense an identity that is synonymous with being a woman. Just like wearing bangles, learning traditional dance forms and being good in the kitchen are associated with being a woman.
Parents need to send their daughters to self-defense classes before they send them to music and dance classes.
And for the women who are of age, it is time to find a person who can teach you to defend yourselves. If independent women do not need a man to complete themselves and be happy, they should NOT need a man to defend them either. Because that man will not be there with you all the time.
The onus is on YOU to protect yourselves.
Because things are NOT going to get better. The statistical proof is right there in your faces. Men are not just going to magically get educated and start behaving like gentlemen. The people who you are shouting at on social media do not even constitute 5% of the real population. Literally, NO ONE reads those FB posts, lest gets influenced and changes after reading them.
It is time for women to stop depending on other people to bring a change in how men treat them.
It is a problem that affects each woman on a personal level. That is why each woman has to learn to defend herself personally.
And forget about men magically appearing on the crime scene to protect you – not even in crowded market streets.
Don’t be Lois Lane. There is no Superman in real life.
Know how to land kicks and punches on throats and groins and solar plexus in a way that makes the man fall in an unconscious heap on the ground. Carry pepper sprays and switchblades.
Sucker punch even the most casual molester, and when this “culture” of women fighting back becomes a “normal” fashion in our society just like assault against women is, people will take notice. The notion that women are weak will disappear after numerous men suffering from their well-deserved bruises and battering will show their shame scars.
Patriarchy has been around since the time we were apes. It’s built in our genes. Do you really think that your FB post will change a mindset that has been there for millennia?
It is time for women to go and find someone who teaches them to fight, rather than look for a massive hunk of a boyfriend who probably won’t be around when they will be molested.