Dear Member of Parliament
I had written an open letter to you some time back urging you to take note of the anguish we, women, felt and help enact a law that would recognise us as equals to you, men. I must admit that I had not much hope of anything happening as your past record and those of your peers is to say the least dismal. Yet at that time, for the briefest of moments I had seen a glimmer hope. Maybe I was just swayed by the power of those who had taken to the street. It was the flavour of the day/month for each and everyone.
Slowly the streets quietened as everyone went back to their lives. The flavour of the day changed. That is when you and your compeers began to craft an insidious and cunning game meant to fool us all. It all began with you instituting a Commission that for once gave its Report in record time. It was the seduction part of your sly game. We were charmed as the recommendations sounded like the dream we had longed for. It seemed that we were at the threshold of a new dawn, that perhaps we would finally find our place in the sun. You had us all! We yearned for a new law that would be enacted! How gullible we were!
Soon you began revealing your cards. First came a hurriedly promulgated ordinance where most of what we were hoping for was simply dropped. But you scored your brownie points as you could trumpet high and loud that you were the saviour of women. Ordinances have a brief life, we all know that. We all wondered why you were in such a hurry when Parliament was just a few days away.
Then Parliament happened and the ordinance had to become law or else it would lapse. That is when your game was exposed. The draft Bill was modified to suit the demands of a whole gamut of patriarchal interest. The things we needed most were simply obliterated.
On the day the Bill was presented to the Lower House, there was a huge political crisis and no one was truly interested in the plight of women. Only 35% of the Members of Parliament were present in the house. May I remind you that women form 50% of your electorate, the very electorate you try to seduce every five years.
I need to know one thing Mister MP. Were you one of the 65% absentees. Did you, like them, feel that women were not to be taken seriously and did not matter. In a way I would prefer you having been absent as in that case I may still give you the benefit of the doubt, something you never give others though.
I read with horror, sadness and pain the record of the debate on the anti rape bill. It was nothing short of humiliating. I have questions for you in case you were one of the 100 odd MPs present. Let me remind you that the bill was about giving women their due and ensuring that they be considered not as second class citizens but at par with the other 50% of the population. Everyone seemed to be interested in passing the Bill, in whatever form, before the 22nd. Never mind if it did not meet the expectations of those who elect you. The bill was moved at 2.15 pm and passed at 7.40 pm. We only deserved 5 hours of your time. Should you have spent it discussing the true essence of what we wanted, I guess 5 hours would have been ample, but what happened in those ill fated 5 hours is nothing short of shameful. Women were 'raped' in public by the very ones we entrust our destiny to.
All that transpired in those 5 hours was aimed at protecting you and not us. Now tell me where you the one who blamed western culture for rapes, or the one who felt that stalking is kosher as a means of initiating romance. I would like to ask you a question. Would Priyardarshini Mattoo be still alive had stalking been an offence? She was stalked for 2 years before she was brutally murdered. But then she is not your daughter or sister.
Or were you the one who felt that we need cultural cleansing. Or the one who felt that all should remain within the family. Never mind the wive beaters and child abusers.
Or were you the one who felt that it is what we wear that incites rape. Then tell me how a 6 month old, or a 2 year old dresses sexily. Maybe diapers are the new kid on the western fashion block.
Maybe you sympathised with the person who said:
We are men after all! This blame the victim drama makes me physically sick.
It was not a debate on morality, Dear Sir, but a discussion that would make your daughters and sisters in our own country! Maybe you guys had forgotten that.
And when a Member seeks life imprisonment for acid attacks, you shoot it down. Just close your eyes and imagine your loved one being attacked with acid. It is not one simple murder. It is condemning a person to live and die everyday. It is like a series of murders. A fit case for an eye for an eye! And often it comes after stalking, a crime you feel will infringe on your romantic pursuits.
It makes me sick and revolted
What happened that day was that we were once again taught what our station in life was and would remain.
I will borrow the words of Shobha De who rightly says that
we are just vaginas, and vaginas are meant to be violated. To be born with a vagina is provocation enough!
It is time we get used to this. You will do nothing!
It was a game you played, and we fell for it.