By Visakha Tillekeratne –
Delhi gang rape victim dies. The culprits involved should be punished without any delay! – A Familiar Refrain
A world of trial and error
Yet another and another and another……………………and another. Has the world learnt a lesson? How do you rate an offence as grave as rape? How does one rate one scenario against another? One woman’s anguish and trauma? After the crime, all salient laws are amended, cases are fast tracked, special prosecutors are appointed, even the age of demarcating an adult is reconsidered, everyone is on the street, all politicians are giving statements, Manmohan Singh is at the airport, Sonia Gandhi speaks out, Shashi Tharoor is giving his opinion on the naming of the law (what triviality! From the former Under Secretary General – Communications of the United Nations), even world bodies are giving statements during the funeral of the victim, at least a dozen different global petitions are signed and there are also huge arguments on privacy and safeguarding the name of the victim now dead. Sounds very familiar here in Sri Lanka as well.
After the horse has bolted the gate is fortified, after the train crash, safety measures are considered (in Sri Lanka of course there are plenty of unprotected railway crossings even after the disasters), after the plane crash all air craft manufacturers and aviation bodies have done their work on safety enhancement, modernizing aviation technology etc.
ALL THESE UNTIL THE NEXT DISASTER! A world that has advanced so much is still on trial and error mode!
Where is the root cause analysis, and the solutions to fundamental inequities?
Let us confine ourselves to this heinous crime in Delhi on that fateful day – 16th of December 2012.
The girl and her boy friend got into a private bus after going to see a movie in the evening after several rickshaws declined to drive them to the victim’s house. They were totally unaware that they got into a bus run by a gang of thugs/rapists. The outcome was they were drove around for nearly one hour, savagely attacking the couple and brutally gang raping and violating the young woman her with an iron bar causing severe internal damage and later throwing them out unconscious and naked to die from the moving bus.
Root cause Analysis of the Incident
It is a well researched premise that gender-based violence has been identified as the product of learnt behavior in societies structured around dynamics of power and domination. As such, it can be changed, particularly through proper education of children, youth and adults at the community level
1.The profiles of the rapists reek of the inequities in social reform and bring to mind both the movie “ Slum Dog Millionnaire” and the recent production of a brilliant docudrama on the severe socio economic inequities within India done by a Sri Lankan no less, titled “Gandhi’s Children”. All the rapists excluding one were from a derelict slum and working in the informal sector. Dropping out of school and dysfunctional families seems to run through their profiles. (Too many generalizations cannot be done as the rich and famous too engage in such crimes maybe in more comfortable places). The driver and the cleaner operated a “school bus service”!
2. An ailing public transport system, which is not monitored for timing, route permits and suitability of staff manning the buses. In a country as highly populated as India, with at least 600 million women, a bus service dedicated to women should have been a reality. Maybe it is there in some places, but the victim certainly could not access one.
3. The attitude of the passerby who failed to come to their rescue after they were thrown out of the moving vehicle at the end of their terrible ordeal.
4. Police inefficiency as they had taken a long time to detect and attend to preliminaries of the crime. They completely ignored the injuries and mental trauma of the male survivor.
5. Public utilities such as city lighting and other safety measures. So has Delhi City been modernized and revamped? According to reports not very much.
6. The Tertiary Healthcare System – emergency care given in the public hospital where she was admitted.
It is unclear to the outsider why the victim was taken to Singapore. Many people in the Asian region travel to expensive hospitals all around India. Is it that yet these Hospitals are not state of the art compared to Mount Elizabeth? Obviously there are no major state hospitals equipped to the task of attending to a patient whose insides are turned out.
7. The Education System: Dealing with School Dropouts, Life Skills Education, bridging the gap of socialization between the sexes. Education is not easily accessible to Indians especially at the tertiary and secondary level. So, a multitude of skills that can be imparted together with conventional education cannot be accessed by a large number of young people in India.
“Parivartan” – A Campaign for the Safety of Women in Delhi as early as 2005
Delhi has not become unsafe recently as is portrayed by the very tragic incident of 16 December 2012. Parivartan which means change was a campaign which was started as far back as 2005 to make Delhi a safe city for women. What happened to Parivartan is the question in 2012 and Delhi and India still seem to be in the trial and error mode?
Let us see the process that Delhites went through in the course of Parivartan.
Extracted from the Parivartan Campaign document;
|Incidence of sexual assaults and rape has increased over the last few years in Delhi at a higher rate than rest of the states in India. Other forms of gender based violence have not shown any major upward trend. There was an annual increase at the rate of 18 % in the rape cases in Delhi since 2001.In addition to this, there were three widely publicized instances of rape cases in moving vehicles on the roads of Delhi including rape of a Swiss diplomat during 2004-2005. The whole city was under the grip of fear. The national media dubbed Delhi as the “rape capital of India” THEN. Even international media based in Delhi endorsed the fear of people of “Delhi being an unsafe city for women”. The Delhi Police was under tremendous pressure to contain the increasing graph of sexual assault and rape cases in the capital city of India.
In June 2005, senior officers and experts were asked to study the extent and nature of the phenomenon of increasing gender based violence and to prepare a structured intervention for eliminating the menace and its root causes in a time bound manner. The time Schedule for the intervention was prepared.Defining the Problem: