Ashamed and powerless

I didn’t want to write about Priyanka Reddy. I believe it achieves nothing. I still feel the same. I stopped reading print media in 2012 after the Delhi case because I didn’t have the mental strength to go through the same gruesome headlines day after day. Every time something as heinous happens in our country, the same set of reactions play out.

The media reports 24/7 on the issue, riding the outrage wave before they find some political scandal that will guarantee more eyeballs. Bunch of people demand #DeathForRapists online – their four friends agree with them. Another set of four people post #NotAllMen in response to a group of thinkers who write five pages on how every man should be looked at with a sense of suspicion. A few people argue about how the identity of the victim, sorry survivor, must have been masked while others counter it by saying we must humanize the person who was violated.

Over all I believe we achieve nothing. The women in your lives will always be unsafe as long as the street lights don’t work when and where they should. They will always be anxious after 10 PM because some weirdo crosses their path in the train/ subway/ walkover bridge and there are no police around. He may be stopped by a pepper spray. He may be beaten with martial arts training. But there’s nothing that can be done when they come in a pack. That’s the reality.

Your Facebook posts and Twitter hashtags aren’t going to achieve a thing. I promise you that. Because a man who has it in him to commit something so atrocious, is never going to be convinced by pixels. He will be convinced not to act as a devil when there’s a guarantee of punishment. Our laws are strong, their implementation not so much. He will be dissuaded by patrolling marshals and CCTV surveillance. #RIPHumanity isn’t going to ensure safe public transport is available 24/7.

Unless we get the bare basics right, there will be more such cases. Sorry to say that. But my pixels aren’t going to change a damn thing too. We can’t control every man, woman and child. We can’t become a police state. A conversation for another day would be that the vast majority of rape cases involve people who already know each other. So, streetlights and public transport optimization won’t help there either. For now, all we can do is be there for the women in our lives and ensure people aren’t made to feel unsafe in our vicinity. Nothing else we can do.

That’s the truth. You might not like it. This is why I didn’t want to write about it.

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