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Priya had returned back from college and was scared to the core. She headed straight for her room. Her mother and grandmother had asked her to change and join them for lunch but what lunch? her appetite had gone and the only words she could remember were of this boy Vicky....who had threatened her few moments back...
"If you won't accept my proposal".....
Vicky who was also a student in the same college as Priya and lived in a nearby locality had taken a fancy on her. Priya belonged to a middle class family. Her father worked in a government office and mother was a housewife. She had a doting grandmother and a younger brother who was in class 9th.
Priya had not dreamt very big in life. She knew her capabilities, was a practical girl and knew her families financial constraints, thier ideologies etc and just wanted to graduate and take a degree in teaching so that she can start earning and add to the families kitty. Post which she also dreamt of marrying a decent guy. She had not thought further than this. She hated guys like Vicky for whom girls were a mere toy or thing to enjoy and disrespected them. But, this Vicky had made her life miserable since last month and more so since a week.
He was after her in the college and with help from another two boys probably his friends who fully supported him in troubling her followed her in class, deliberately sat next to her and gave her letters, flowers etc and wanted to befriend her and almost forcing her to become his girl friend. He on his bike with a friend followed her back home singing songs, passing comments while she was in a rickshaw and was constantly nagging her to become his girl friend. She was both angry and scared and perplexed. She was just thinking...Vicky's intentions were not good
Should she share this with the family.....what will they think of her...how to say such a thing....will they blame her.....what action will they take....will they let her continue with her studies....if they do something what reaction will Vicky give...will he hurt her or her family....what to do? Such things were boomeranging in her mind.
Today Vicky had almost threatened her for facing serious circumstances if she doesn't accept his proposal and more so over if her answer was not positive
Priya had heard of horrible incidents like ...acid attacks...rapes...gangrapes..kidnapping...in news... newspapers... And even had once seen a talk show where such a victim was being interviewed. She never wanted anything like this to happen..can Vicky go to this extent...she hated him....her refusal will mean...?
she needed help. she was sure of now sharing it with the family even if she has to give up on her education and dreams of becoming a teacher. it's better than being a victim of anything very bad.
Well, priya is not the only case. Many of us must have on road while travelling, in public transports, colleges, crowded places etc faced eve teasing, touching, commenting incidences and that would have tormented us physically and emotionally but girls like priya who get threatened by goons like Vicky on not accepting a friendship, love or marriage proposal many a times become victims of acid attacks, molestation, sexual abuse etc and even thier families are threatened and tortured if they raise a voice or take any action. There are horrifying stories these victims have to share and one can't image how low a person and even sometimes thier families (support and protect thier children doing such crimes through money or muscle power) can stoop as humans inflicting such atrocity on another human which physically hurts so much, financially costs so much as treatment costs in many cases are very high and beyond the affordability of a family. Fighting cases and getting justice takes years, a lot of money and running around and even emotionally destroy a person and family for a lifetime.Many people opt for not fighting and accept it as thier fate, many give up the fight in between. It is painful to accept and live with a deformed face and shamed body, low self esteem, societal agony, shattered dreams and many peole even go in depression sometimes when tired of fighting.
If we go through reports on acid attacks like I did by Tanushree Ghosh dated March 29,2016 from huffington we find that these horrific crimes are very much a part of our society and 85% of acid attack cases are attributed towards females. From 2010 -2013 ,41% attack were from lovers who were refused. 15% of attacks that happen on men are for property disputes, ego fights, robbery etc. But women become victims of this mostly on refusal to an indecent proposal.
We constantly hear of such henious crimes and incidences inflicted upon girls and women irrespective of the age (a small infant to a school going girl to a teenager to a college goer to office going girls to married women with kids and even ladies of older age). It can happen to anyone.Talks of development, infrastructure, cashless economy, education, healthcare etc seem to be incomplete without any strong policy and decision making for these issues which are related to a gender that constitutes almost half of our population.
Any girl or women like Priya in today's India should have the freedom to travel without attracting stares or comments, get education, do a job, marry or befriend someone by choice without fear and should be able to reject a proposal of friendship, love marriage or forced sex without having fear of a repercussion on her and family.
We expect people's mindset to change with times regarding women but we are not sure of the time it takes or whether it will happen or not or how many people will understand this. The only solution to all this is stringent laws to such an extent and example setting by punishing such acts that people fear doing such things.
Countries like Columbia have set an example by treating such crimes as equivalent to homicide. Even countries like Bangladesh where the problem was even more than India have made stringent laws. Even in our country IPC (Indian Penal Code) has been amended in April, 2013 after the Nirbhaya case in December 2012 (Earlie even reporting such cases was less) and section 326A - 326 B of IPC have been modified for strict rules on sale of such products like acid, prosecution of criminals, treatment and rehabilitation of victims, right to self defence against acid attack. Government should also take action at grassroot level like appointing undercover police, volunteers in each city, take help from NGOs and provide some kind of quick action on this.
It is good that something has been done but how it is implemented by police and law and what difference it brings in the life of people has to be seen. We all still fear for our growing kids , specially girls and till this fear doesn't go from our mind and such incidents stop happening we can't call ourselves living in a free country developing at a rapid pace.