Everyday early in the morning after getting up from bed, as a matter of habit, I look for the local newspaper which the hawker uses to insert it in the door belt of my house. When I go through the paper, invariably I find one or more news on atrocities on women or outraging the modesty of women appearing either on the front page or on the following pages depending on seriousness of the happenings.
Sometimes I tremble to think, how could these heinous incidents take place everyday when stringent laws are there to deal with these cases rigorously, National Commission for Women and Child Welfare and separate women police stations have been set up by the Govt. to provide protection to women in danger or distress? Unlike the past when women were confined to four walls and treated as slaves in the male dominant society, there has been radical change in the social order and the women have been given equal status in all walks of life over the passage of time.
Today the women are more or less conscious of their rights and position in the society and most women are educated too. In spite of all this, the women, as it were, are subjected to undergo humiliations and torture of different dimensions at various stages of their lives. Then what is going wrong? Are the flaws lying with the society or the system or the women themselves? In fact, women are very often made the targets of attack for pleasure or fun or comfort or making of money or avoiding unnecessary burden right from the stage of embryo before birth till their old age.
Before going to discuss on what could be the reasons and who are responsible for inflicting torture on women, it may not be out of place to take an account of different nature of atrocities and humiliations being done to women at various stages of their lives as the reports, very often, come to our notice through media. v Pregnant women are either persuaded or forced to undergo abortion if the babies in the womb are detected to be females through sonography, only to avoid bringing up of girl children and bear huge expenses for their arriage. v New born female children are brutally killed by parents or other members of the family and thrown as wastes if they could not be aborted before birth not only for rearing burdensome creatures but also for satisfying their caustic desire for having only the male children who will be the future bread earners and shall be the heirs to advance their family for future generations,. v Girl children in several parts of the country are not allowed to go to school for study and they are engaged in household or field work.
In many cases they are engaged as maid servants for earning money for the family or sold out as bonded labour to rich people. v Girl children are abducted and sold to the brokers for trading in the whore market. v School and college going girls are very often subjected to eave teasing, kidnapping, rape, rape and murder. v In many families daughters are not given equal treatment in upbringing as given to their sons. v Forceful child marriage of girl child and forgetting about her fate in father-in-law’s house is still existent in some parts of our country. If the marriage of a girl after attaining right age is arranged one, her misery follows when her parents fail to satisfy the demands of groom and his parents. All her visionary projects for building a lovely home get crushed and mingled with the dust as soon as she steps into her father-in-law’s house. She is treated like a foot ball and is subjected to painful humiliations and inhuman torture for dowry day in and day out. How helpless and destitute she feels in her father-in-law’s house where everybody including her husband go on torturing her mentally as well as physically until their dowry demands are not fulfilled?
In many cases, the helpless poor girl either commits suicide or she is most cruelly murdered. v If a woman is divorced or estranged by the husband for any reason after marriage, her misery crosses all limits by making her life extremely unbearable. Not only her neighbourers, friends, relatives but also her parents in many cases never hesitate to cast slur on her and treat her as if an unwanted entity in the family/society. v If a woman is raped or kidnapped and then released, her living in the society becomes awful and everyone looks down upon her as if she has committed a grievous sin willfully. Working women, in most cases are subjected to sexual harassment at their respective working places and outside. v In nucleus families (Families comprising husband, wife and children only which are commonly seen these days) mostly the dominance of husbands is supreme where wives are not earning members and poor wives have no freedom to act according to their wishes. In cases, even if the wives are earning members, the husbands hardly share the responsibility of managing the family and rearing of children.
The wives are compelled to manage all household works including cooking of food even if their earning is equal to or more than their husbands. In most of the cases wives have to compromise for a peaceful family life and their dedication for the family is considered as an obligation to making an ideal family either as wives or as mothers. v Most widows in old age are an abandoned lot in spite of having their well placed sons simply because their daughters-in-law can’t bear their presence at home.
Although the nature of atrocities on females as listed above is not conclusive, it is enough to indicate clearly the motive behind all these infamous deeds. Those may be (1) Fanatical belief of man of having a male child in stead of a girl child. (2) Insatiable greed for dowry and passion for leading a comfortable or luxurious life by utilizing women as the key gadgets to extract easy money from their parents. (3) Jealousy and hatred (4) Satisfaction of one’s sexual appetite growing out of passion for having illegal sex and infatuation. (5) Utilising women as precious commodity to breed money. 6) The last but not the least is the upholding the false vanity of male dominance by males on the strength of their masculine power. Now, if we go deep into the matter to discover who are the persons responsible for initiation of all these ghastly deeds, we may find, barring the cases of rape, sexual harassment and exercising superiority of men vainly upholding the male dominance, in other cases there must be either direct or indirect involvement of one or more women. This kind of abrupt landing on an observation may appear absurd, controversial and illogical but it is not far from reality.
I think it is needless to elaborate on this question as the news come in daily that how women for their own advantage frame clandestine designs to inflict torture on other women who are not of their liking by craftily utilizing the masculine power of men and for that matter they never hesitate to instigate, persuade, entrap, coax, seduce or apply undue influence on men. Of the many news items coming out in the news papers everyday, one incident shocked me most and that was the dealings of a woman constable in a police station manned by women only.
When a rape victim coming from a poor family approached the nearest women police station for help and wanted to lodge an FIR the woman constable of the police station in stead of extending help persuaded her to return home without creating a scene by lodging an FIR which would in no way go to help her on the contrary, it might make her life more miserable owing to spread of slander. This is only one of the live examples of lapses of the system in providing security to women in distress. One can imagine how many such cases might be happening everyday?
Recently somewhere I read a news item that about 10-15% of the incidents of torture on women, injustice, humiliations done to women and outraging the modesty of women come to light whereas the rest happenings, however grievous they may be, are suppressed by the victims themselves out of fear or under pressure from other women of their relations who might be trying to cover up the incidents. For this matter I do not blame women in general but nobody comes forward to raise a voice against such injustice.
In a complex society of ours where problems of leading a happy and peaceful life are multitude and highly sensitive being aggravated by poverty, unemployment and inadequate education, the atrocities on women can only be eradicated through mass awareness of women themselves. If all women develop a spirit of fellow feeling by placing themselves in the shoes of victims or aggrieved women and unite to protest or counter or fight or raise strong voice against all types of oppression, I think they can catalyze a novel metamorphosis in the society and curb atrocities on women to a great extent.
If some progressive women come forward to form “Mahila Jagaran Manch” (MJM) and spread it through out the length and breadth of the country with a view to provide protection and help to women in distress I think the problem might subside. Unlike the National Commission for Women the MJM should grow voluntarily in every village and in every residential blocks in towns and cities through awareness campaign being conducted and monitored by some progressive benevolent ladies so that the women folk at large can master courage to come out to join MJM and face any turbulent situation confronting them boldly.