Rape sullies Goa image?
The recent rape of a Russian woman in Goa allegedly by a powerful politician has brought into focus many questions. The manner in which the police have dilly-dallied on the issue has cast an aspersion on the conduct of the men in uniform. If there is conclusive evidence linking the politician to the rape, he should have been arrested without any delay. The needless negative publicity which the case has attracted shows that the government needs to put into action a plan which not only gives immediate relief to a rape victim but also ensures that the guilty person is booked. However, if the police feel that there is no evidence indicating rape, they should be able to substantiate such a claim. Normally speaking no woman will like to accuse anyone of rape unless such a ghastly deed has been done. And the Russian woman’s repeated visits to the police only go on to show that she is determined to pursue this case so her tormentor is brought to book. What is the delay is something I cannot understand.
Goa Rajya Sabha MP, Shantaram Naik added fuel to the fire by a politically incorrect statement, which had his women colleagues in the Upper House protesting vehemently against his sexiest remark. The MP did try to clarify his position but TV anchors like Arnab Goswami seemed fixated at fixing him for what could have been a statement attributed to him out of context.
Politicians have a foot in the mouth disease and this could also have been the case in this instance also. Naik while arguing that rapists should be punished as per our law went on to state that police must also keep in mind the circumstances under which the crime took place particularly when the woman was in the habit of moving in the company of strangers even till past midnight hours. His point as I understood was that women should not invite rape.
There are two ways of looking at this. First, every woman has freedom to move freely in this country and it is the duty of our law and order agencies as also our state to provide them full protection at all times.
Second, if the issue is examined practically, we all know that there is no shortage of perverts and psychopaths in this country as even outside it. It is best to take precautions when one-steps out. The precautions can include not going to a secluded spot in the middle of the night and women should try and move in larger groups in case they venture out to shady parts of the city. I am nowhere suggesting that women should curtail their freedom but being careful and cautious is not any infringement on one’s liberty. In case of the Russian woman like in any other case, the rapist must be severely punished but there is a lesson to learn from such incidents too.
Even abroad, there are advisories, which tell visitors not to go to a particular area after sunset or not to take an underground train at a particular hour. The advisory is on account of the experience of the authorities that mugging or ugly incidents do take place. While attempts are always made to secure any area, it is also for citizens to ensure that they also take steps to protect themselves from perverts and psychopaths.
Official figures for instance indicate that in majority of cases of rape, the accused is an acquaintance of the victim. In many instances, relatives commit the rape. For any woman who has to go through this humiliation, it is a terrible experience. It is therefore important that fast trial courts to punish rapists are set up and they do not get away. The verdict in the Dhaula Kuan case is exemplary and could serve as a model to punish the rapists. But as I said before, there is no dearth of perverse minds and psychopaths. Therefore, there is no harm if women are more aware of the threat from such people and accordingly move about keeping this in mind.
Precaution is always better than cure and no amount of punishment to he rapist can take the scars away from a victim.
In countries like India there needs to be more education in order to equip the common people to process their exposure. Nudity in films or in magazines for mature minds maybe okay but this does not hold true for minds that are not ready for such things. Education is the first step in educating people.
Finally, the Goa police must investigate the Russian woman’s rape case fast and punish whoever is guilty irrespective of the person’s standing in society. India as a state owes justice to not only its own people but also those who are our visitors.