will I be safe tomorrow

Will I be safe tomorrow, is the question every little girl in India is asking herself today. The reason are the weak laws that protect them from abuse and ignominy. Almost two decades ago a young 14 year old was molested by a powerful man, someone she looked upon to as he held the key to fulfilling her dreams, that of being a sports star. Twenty years later the molester was handed over a sentence: 1000 rs fine and six months imprisonment. But the story is not that simple: in the twenty years the powerful and heinous support system had tried every trick in the book to protect the perpetrator and ensure that his life goes on unhindered. Young Ruckiha's family was hounded, she was tormented and persecuted till she took the extreme step, that of ending her young life.

Today a nation is in shock and determined to see that Ruchika's tormentor is brought to justice and I like everyone else want to see that day dawn. But the story does not end there. Every day, in homes and elsewhere young children are subjected to abuse by powerful predators and no law or kind heart is there to protect them. The powerful wheels of our patriarchal system are set in motion and again and again the perpetrator is protected and shielded while the victim is isolated and more often that not condemned. The child after a few feeble attempts that are met with suspicion and disbelief, locks herself in a abject solitude carrying scars that will and can never heal. Some, like Ruchika take an extreme step and put an end once for all to a life of torment. Others simply carry on nursing scars no one cares to see as protectors have turned predators.

Yes we want justice for Ruchika, but we also want to see all our children safe. We want justice for all those who have no voice, for all those who are thrown into a well of loneliness by an insensitive and feudal society who thrives in protecting misplaced notions like honour and reputation. We want a legal system that understands the damage an apparently innocuous gesture can do to a child and protect that child. But why do I feel that we still have to wait a long time.