No country for....

or a woman!
On March 6th a girl was brutally raped in Ahmadabad.  The brutality of the incident was a stark reminder of the Delhi rape of December 16, 2012. The only difference was that this girl was six year old. The only difference was that no one took to the streets, held candle light vigils or expressed any anger. You see she was poor. Had she been your or my child the heavens would have fallen. And yet she should not have been raped as she did not violate any of the so called canons that are always regurgitated to justify rape. She did not wear revealing clothes. She was not out with her boyfriend at an ungodly hour. She did not board a bus. She was just playing with her siblings outside the shack that was her home. Today she fight for her life or perhaps she is no more. She barely made the headlines of our news hungry press.

Her torturer left no stone unturned. With third degree perennial tear, serious rectum and vaginal injuries, the damage to internal organs is beyond shocking. Her haemoglobin level has dropped to 3 due to acute blood loss. When asked why he did it, his chilling answer was: I just felt like doing it! The mother just wants her child to be whole again. That will never happen not only because of the gravity of her wounds but because such scars never heal.

Yesterday a baby died because his father could not produce the 800 rupees the hospital demanded. The baby was delivered on the street. The child died minutes after his birth. The police called it an accidental death. Just like the little girl who fights for her life, this baby too was 'poor'.

When I hear about such tragedies, I feel so totally helpless and abjectly saddened.

Then as you turn on your TV, you are greeted but yet another uproar. You tune in and realise with utter shock that the subject is once again about women. This time it is a so called 'respected' member of the upper house of Parliament that has found it politically correct to talk about women during a debate on foreign direct investment. It takes a rather skewed mind to talk of women's bodies, of the colour of their skin and other such aberrations to state his party's stand on the bill discussed. Racism. misogyny, sexism and patriarchy: you have it all. And if you expected the chair or any other member of parliament to object, you have it all wrong. What you heard while he babbles on his laughter, sneers and tacit approval. Come on boys will be boys, even when they are meant to be legislating and crafting our future. The MP in question remains unapologetic; he actually feels he has done no wrong. I guess he just felt like saying these things just like the man who felt like hurting the six year old.

How can women ever be safe as long as  people with such views sit in Parliament. For them women are objects and nothing else. They will continue to be raped every twenty minutes and perpetrators will be protected by a boys will be boys attitude. This is also the same man who was willing to die rather than pass the women reservation bill as he feared that the Parliament will be overrun by short haired women. These are the kind of men who blame women for being molested or raped based on what they wear, or where they go.

They will never feel outraged at any aberration, and remain unperturbed at the news of a child violated by a man. Boys will be boys is the litany we hear over and over again.

And we, the dented and painted ladies who defend our own, will not find the heart to take to the streets for a six year old who was brutally violated or a little baby who died because the hospital wanted 800 rupees. You see these two come with the tag 'poor' attached to to their toe and that makes them inconsequential. And what about the 72 year old nun who was brutally gang-raped by eight men. I guess there is some tag that makes her rape material. It cannot be her dress, her age, her life style! She was not out at night but was asleep in the safety of God's house. Even that was violated.

We can be as outraged as we want. We can have as many laws as we want. But as long as the present mindset exists, and exists its does as it is even aired with alacrity and impunity in the hallowed halls of our Parliament, we are fighting a lost battle.

And if you needed proof, rather than an apology this is what the parliamentarian said today when faced with the ire of women parliamentarians: "The bodies of women from the south are as good as they are beautiful."

I am aghast.

This is indeed no country for women be she 6 or 72!