Marry them at 16 to stop rape

The recent spate of rapes in the state of Haryana - 13 in just one month - have once again brought the extreme vulnerability of women in our country to the fore. It is not just the crime that is heinous and reprehensible. What is more shocking is the reaction of the law makers and keepers. Last week a young sixteen year old girl was gang raped by four men. Not able to bear the shame, she set herself on fire and died. In another case the father of a rape victim committed suicide as we was not getting any justice.

Rape is an abhorrent crime to say the least. What makes it worst in our land is the fact that it is the victim that is put to trial. Some months back following another spate of rape the administration had come up with astonishing prevention measures: women should not be working after 8pm, and should wear appropriate clothes! This time the local village council leader as come up with an even more astounding solution to rape. He feels early marriage would put a stop to rapes.  "I believe this is happening because our youth are being badly influenced by cinema and television. I think that girls should be married at the age of 16, so that they have their husbands for their sexual needs, and they don't need to go elsewhere. This way rapes will not occur,". Voila! Rape over! And that is not all, a political leader of the ruling party goes on to call rapes a conspiracy to defame the government. How that works is beyond my comprehension.

The bottom line is that in our country, where Goddesses are worshipped with passion and devotion women and girls are treated with utter contempt. If they are not killed in the womb then what awaits them is a nothing short of hell. As they have been branded as the keeper of the family's honour they are divested of any form of freedom. Should anything untoward happen, they are the ones to bear the consequences. This is what the recent stories seem to tell. Rape is the worst form of crime where a man or many give themselves the right to use and abuse of a woman's body. The tragedy in our land is that the onus of the aberration is squarely placed on the shoulders of the victim. They dress wrong, they watch the wrong movies, they have sexual needs that they need to fulfill being the latest accusation. How does all this apply to a minor who has been gang raped is a question begging to be answered.

It is sad that instead of being condemned by one and all, a reprehensible and depraved crime like rape becomes a political issue. I have no words to describe how it makes me feel. The country has a democratic system and an independent judiciary and the law is in the hands of judiciary and nobody else said one leader. We all know how the law works. We all know how humiliating the process is for the victim. Some countries have chemical castration of rapist. Maybe we too should consider that. It is time that women were treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.