God had made man and woman as equals. But in the course of time, somehow, women were relegated to being referred as weak, delicate and dependent creatures. For ages, man has established his false superiority over the women kind through the use of barbaric force and physical might.
Women are being abused since time immemorial. Their freedom and will has, for ages, been tied up with the shackles of tradition and orthodoxy. And chauvinists feed on this perceived helplessness of the fairer sex.
Even today, in this age of liberalization and so-called woman empowerment, the male chauvinists have not deterred to put women through all sorts of disgusting violent activities.
Traditional patriarchal mentality
The society we live in, has, for long, been a patriarchal one. In such society, the male is considered superior and of such capability that he can decide upon the fate of the concerned female. It is nothing new that the father of a house is always the head of the family.
The brothers are called as protectors of their sisters. It has been very deeply impregnated into our narrow male dominant minds that the girl child is inferior and weak and there must always be a male accomplice of hers to protect her, guide her and tell her what she ought to and ought not to do. Such sick mentality is the reason for all crimes that happen against women.
Today, every corner of every page of every newspaper speaks out loudly about the frequent rapes, kidnappings, acid-throwing and many more criminal activities. Often times, it is the woman victim who is ridiculed and made fun of. There have been instances where even the police refuse to lodge complaints against the assailant saying that it was the woman who was at fault.
They make fun of her saying that her attire was provocative, sometimes saying that she herself was involved and many a times, the law keepers have even said, in some backward districts, that girls cant lodge complaints.
Types of violence women are subjected to
Although women are subjected to several types of crimes; few are more common to the male nature and gives them some sort of self-gratification on inflicting in upon the women.
Dowry is one of the greatest evils of our society which however is being massively propagated in many parts of our nation even today. Several girls have even committed suicide because of the pressure of dowry. Many families torture and even murder their wives and daughters-in laws to bring dowry. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar collectively account for 42.8% of the dowry deaths in India.
Indian society is mostly orthodox and follows the traditional procedure where the parents engage in match making for a girls marriage. Sometimes, this is against the wishes of the girl and she refuses or flees from home to escape such butchery of her will.
In few cases, the girl was searched for by the family, captured and then slaughtered in public. These killings are generalized as honour killings and mostly occur in Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.
India being a developing nation, still has many parts where education and forward thinking has not been able to penetrate. Many regions still believe in untouchability and prejudices. Usually the women from lower castes are declared as untouchables or bad omen and are blamed for everything wrong that happens in the community.
For example, if there is an epidemic disease, the seniors of the village collect and declare someone as the cause for such disease and call their abolishment from the society. This goes on to such extents that the women are even murdered.
Sexual crimes against women are not at all new and have been continued since ages. Men, in order to prove their so called superiority attack and exploit women sexually, torturing them and even killing them eventually. These are not only done by ruthless assailants, but sometimes, even the members of the girl’s own family abuse her womanhood and leave her sexuality in a state of trauma for the rest of her life.
This often times, makes the girls commit suicide. And many a times, the assailant kills the girl in fear of being caught. Even husbands abuse their wives. Cases of marital rape are not uncommon. However, this male chauvinist society of ours is so badly blinded that cases marital rape and domestic violence are rarely taken up seriously.
Other significant crime is female infanticide and foeticide. The sex ratio in India is alarmingly disturbing. It is even worse in the backward areas where women are considered a curse upon the family. Girl child is killed in her infancy if not killed in the womb.
Cases of forced prostitution are not at all new. This trend transcends economic backgrounds. Even people from higher rung of the society force the women of their own families into prostitution for mental and monetary satisfactions. These people are but mentally and emotionally sick and should have no place to dwell in a civilized society.
Other crimes include human trafficking and acid throwings which are gaining popularity recently.
Steps taken to reduce violence
The legislators and the judiciary is adopting several measures in order to facilitate quick redressal of cases of violence against women. Harsher punishments are being ordered for these mentally sick assailants.
The police have increased patrolling at night and employers have been ordered to provide for drop-in facility for women to take them safely to home after late night work shifts. Emergency helplines have also been set up for women to provide for speedy police action if a woman is in trouble or feels unsafe.
A desire to have control leads to violence. Throughout much of the history of human civilization, deep seated cultural beliefs allowed women only limited roles in the society. Men have always been considered the ones to whom the women should look up to for help.
Proper sexual education as well as gender equality has to be integrated in the education system in order to mitigate the problem of violence against women. Self-defense techniques should be taught to all girls of all ages right from their primary schools.
We have to abolish the sexist thinking from our society that some sort of rules applies for women and a different set of rules apply for men. Once we can overcome this, then only our civilization can march towards a more progressive future where men and women walk along side leading the human race to its zenith.