Vox Pop: What can be the deterrent to the crime of rape?
With the public outcry due to the recent rape and murder case of a Bakarwal girl in Kathua district of Jammu division, the government has shown its concern by enacting harsher legislations. But by doing so, are we really going to arrive at a socio-psychological condition that could work as a strong deterrent to such crimes or, are we just ignoring to identify the real causes embedded in the male dominated, chauvinist society that sometimes glorifies crime and often objectifies women in more than one way.
The Kathua tragedy shook the very conscience of not just the people of the state but the entire world. People from different walks of life expressed their shock and awe over the rape and murder of a juvenile held captive in a temple and repeatedly raped and finally murdered. The heinous crime, condemned by many, also saw politicizing and polarizing voices emerging from among some political, religious as well as social organizations and amidst all this, the case was placed before the court and the accused arrested.
Kashmir Images reporter, Sherfun Nisa spoke with people from different walks of life to understand what measures can be taken to ensure that such acts never happen in future. Here are the excerpts:
Junaid Dar, social activist
The feminists who always talk about women empowerment and make hue and cry about women in Kashmir stating that women here do not have even the basic rights and are treated as aliens, need to come to terms with reality and try and build a narrative for woman safety and security - empowerment shall follow! It is easy to speak about issues faced by women sitting in cozy rooms, but on the ground, such voices are needed to resonate and unite in order to ensure that women are not seen as mere objects and possessions. The activists need to leave their comfort zones for the wellbeing of women in society.
Arusa Amin, student
Strict steps should be taken for even smallest crimes. Incidents which are often ignored like eve teasing, molestation and sexual assault must not go unnoticed and unreported as well. Harder punishment should be made for rapists. Things like gambling or drinking alcohol or other related crimes should be seriously taken into account. Whosoever is found to be involved should be punished. Special arrangements of police should be made in places more vulnerable to crimes. For every case filed against rape everything should be scrutinized properly to get to the core reason behind that crime.
Tahir Mushtaq, student cum activist
Sex education should be made compulsory from the very formative years of academics. Awareness is very important. It is the duty of parents to keep a watch on activities of their children both sons and daughters. Victims of rape should never be blamed. Fast track courts should deal with such cases to ensure justice to the victims and immediate punishment to the culprits. Bollywood movies which normalize harassment and rape should be discouraged.
Qazi Mahmood, parent
While the problem is universal with its incidence in our part of the world proportionately lesser, shaming of the victim in our society has resulted in the fact that such cases are not being reported. This phenomenon has resulted in the perpetrators getting emboldened by the day. To top it all, negligible conviction rate and protracted trial of the cases has also resulted in the lack of deterrence. Encouraging and empowering the potential victims to resolve to report slightest transgression by sexual offenders is required coupled with time bound trial by exclusive courts. This can prove to be a game changer.
Qazi Muazzam, student
As we know, initial learning process starts from one’s home. I think the moral education given to kids in Kashmir should have been adequate to prevent any such devilish acts but unfortunately we still witness such heinous crimes occurring in our society. I personally think the solution to stop these kinds of terrible cases is to empower girls with techniques of self-defense which are readily available online. Also kids should be taught the difference between good touch and bad touch. They should be prompted to speak about it to their parents so as to save them from such physical assaults.
Mukhtar Dar, Student
Death is never enough for a rapist. He should be given such a harsh punishment that would amount to killing him every second, every minute! Different campaigns and workshops should be conducted to socialize society that women are not objects and their dignity cannot be subject to such crimes.
Uzrat Nizam, a Journalist.
I think these malicious acts won’t be stopped unless people change there thinking and behavioral pattern. If every perpetrator is stoned to death in front of everyone, only then there will be a decline in such acts. I think television also plays its part in such crimes because the content that is being telecast sometimes glorifies such acts and thus encourages youth to a huge extent. There is a need to make people aware about the societal duties and responsibilities.
Abdul Bari, prosecute officer
It is the need of the hour to think and rethink about bringing fast track courts in action for speedy trial of rape cases. Such courts shall be established at every district headquarter in order to make it easy and quick for administration to deliver justice to a victim and ensure severe punishment to rapists. Besides I would appreciate if the investigation in the rape cases is conducted by lady police officers wherever possible and must be completed preferably within 30 days. The court proceedings in rape cases must be preferably presided over by a lady judge.
Nayeema Gul, parent
Unless and until girls are not respected at their homes by their own parents these crimes won’t stop. In current society we see for every small mistake girls are always blamed. It is duty of every parent to provide moral education to their sons as well. Boys should be made to realize their moral duties and if girls are asked to cover themselves, boys should also be asked to lower their gaze. This could play a positive role in safeguarding the dignity of a girl.
Sumail Rather, a businessman
A huge number of unresolved rape cases are lying in Indian courts. If at any point in time the Indian courts would have taken an initiative to announce death penalty to rape culprits then the scenario would have been definitely different. Such a punishment would definitely deter a potential rapist who would think a thousand times before committing such a heinous crime.