On December 16, 2012, a girl and her friend were brutally attacked on a local bus in Delhi. While the boy was clubbed on the head, the girl was gang raped by six people on board the bus. They were later dumped on the road with no clothing and left to die. While the boy survived, the girl succumbed to her injuries, but not before pointing out her attackers to the police. Following the incident, a nationwide protest saw a fast-track court convicting the men for their heinous crime.
This happened in 2012 and two years have passed since that horrific incident. However, nothing seems to have changed in Delhi, which has in fact, started seeing a steep increase in the number of rapes over the past two years. The city is now being called the ‘rape capital of India’ with women finding it hard to venture out on the streets after nightfall. In spite of the police claiming of tight security measures in place, women in Delhi have come to the point of understanding that it is of no use to depend on anyone apart from themselves for their safety.
The harassment continues
It has become very hard for a woman in Delhi to walk alone on the streets at night without being jeered at by passersby. Suspicious cars draw up close, lewd comments are passed by strangers and auto rickshaws refuse to ferry women passengers to their destination, often demanding double or triple the fare for the trip.
The majority of women in Delhi who work in office and return home late in the night still complain of being harassed at public places like bus stops, railway stations and inside buses. These women feel that lack of stringent measures to tackle harassers have made it easier for men to tease women in public without worrying about the consequences.
The increasing incidents of rape in the city since the December 2012 incident has also instilled a fear in the minds of the women in Delhi, making them very wary of any man who accosts them or even walks across them on the streets.
Preventive measures need to improve
Image Source: IndiaToday
Following the Nirbhaya incident, the government had come up with certain measures to protect female commuters in the city at night. Public buses now come equipped with electronic scrolls that relay phone numbers a woman can call if she is being harassed. Public announcements were made via radio on buses and trains to correct and fend off potential molesters.
Even the Delhi police have become more responsive and sensitive to complaints placed by women against harassers. Women help desks have been set up in all the police stations in the capital to help facilitate the same. Despite all these measures, the rapes continue to occur and the molesters continue to roam the streets freely.
Many women suggest the creation of campaigns to educate both men and women in an approach to change their mindset about the opposite sex. This measure, they hope, would reduce crimes against women in the capital.
Figures remain bleak
The time has come for the Indian government to take notice of and take strong measures to prevent further incidents of rapes and molestations in Delhi as well as the rest of India. It needs to be noted that over 1036 cases of rape were filed during the first eight months of 2014 alone, considered to be the highest in over 10 years. And these are just the cases that have been reported, with many women still refraining from approaching the courts for justice owing to social stigma.
All of these developments have left the quintessential Delhi women fearful of her surroundings at all times. The fear for themselves and their daughters’ safety has grown on them like a second skin, making all men, even the ones they love, untrustworthy in their eyes. And this fear is what they will hand down to their daughters, and they to their daughters and so on, thereby impacting the society on the whole.
In spite of stringent measures in place, Delhi continues to be unsafe for women, with over 1000 cases of rape being reported in 2014. These incidents have left a permanent scar in the minds of women across the nation as they become more fearsome of moving out in the public after nightfall.