and the rapes go on

A 3 year old was raped in Kerala. She was sleeping on the pavement next to her mother, a homeless rag picker. She was brutalised with a blunt object. When she was found. she had high fever and ants crawling all over her tiny body.  She will take a long time to recover from her physical injuries. I wonder whether she will ever recover from the scars on her tiny soul. Her mother, almost a child herself sits by her bed. I cannot begin to fathom what goes on in her mind. She has another older child and is carrying her third one. She is part of what Harsh Mander callas the invisible poor. Umpteen questions come to mind. What will happen to the little 3 year old? What is the future of the family? Will someone get moved by their plight and help them?

Two days back a class XII student went to meet a friend at a Mall. Is this not what all kids do today! When it was time to go home she took a shared auto rickshaw. The ride turned out to be a nightmare as she was driven around for 2 hours, raped and robbed before being thrown out of the vehicle. Does this not remind you of the one called braveheart who was raped on a December night? The country was on its feet to demand justice, albeit for a limited time. Had our slumbering consciences awoken for a nano moment.

The state went into damage control mode as it often does when faced with an inevitable situation. When water canons and tear gas shells failed, it constituted a committee to suggest amendments to the existing laws. The committee did surprisingly well and gave us a comprehensive report. The government went in knee jerk mode and promulgated an ordinance knowing very well that it was a short term solution as it needed to be ratified by the Parliament. The proposed bill has now been put on the back burner. The reason: nitpicking over small issues like the lowering of age of consent. If you ask my opinion, I would say that lowering the age of consent has nothing to do with rape! I am one of those who believe that marital rape should also be punished. The state is not a guardian of morality though it often steps into that space. First perhaps, our law makers and enforcers should ensure that no child mariage takes place and the law that states that girls cannot be married before 18 should be implemented. One cannot hide behind social mores and tradition and let people brake laws. Mindsets to need to be changed.

Rapes are a crime, a violation of a women's body irrespective of her age. We are all too well aware of this fact. Turn on the TV, scan the morning paper and you will have your fill of rapes: 8 months old, 3 years old, 12 years old, 50 years old and so on. From January to mid February 181 rape cases have been reported in our city, that is 4 rapes a day! Seems like the perpetrators know that they rape with impunity. And they are right if we are to believe a report aired of CNN IBN this morning where law enforcers are caught on camera stating aberrations like only 1 to 2 % are real rapes rest are consensual; only women in western clothes are raped and so on. Till this CHANGES no ordinance, law or more of the same can make any difference. And the rapists know that.

Today is International Women's Day. I would suggest you read Shobha De's article. In our land Vaginas are for violating.