And it happened again. The news of the Delhi gangrape was all over and it was disturbing. The victim is now battling for her life in the hospital. And while all this happens, there is once again a round of advice that I hear for myself.
While we read this news of the girl gangraped in a moving bus and then thrown out along with her male friend, a colleague asked why there was a need to take public transport at night. Well, I'm not as rich yet to afford myself a drive and hence the public transport.
Then comes another question as to why I need to be out beyond say 9 pm. This question irritates and frustrates me. I get free from work in the evening, I have friends who work till 7 pm and even beyond. When do you expect me to meet them. And why is it that a guy can roam around till late but a girl cannot?
When I came back home last evening, my family too stressed at the fact that I shouldn't be out beyond 9. And it's my safety that they say this for. Do I have an argument here? My family isn't wrong in giving that instruction, is it? Of course I don't have an argument. I always thought I can roam around with a male friend. But after yesterday's case, I fear for my male friend's safety too.
But is it meant to be this way always? Does it have to be me, my family and other such girls who have to live in fear? Is it not supposed to be that sick-headed rapist who should live in fear? It's high time the law started giving out such examples that such men live in fear.
While people discussed how such men should be dealt with, I was happy to read a strong suggestion come out from a politician. Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah tweeted that chemical castration should be the punishment. I only hope the lawmakers read that tweet. I only hope that someone like Omar Abdullah, who can well make his voice heard takes this up seriously.
But till there is no such action, that rapist is well capable of doing it again thinking he'll get away with it. Being a journalist, I come across so many rape news stories every day, but the only follow-up I come across is 'accused arrested' and the case goes on. Why? Why should these men think they can get away with it? Why should the culprits not deal with the torture that the victim dealt with or may still be dealing with since rape becomes a 'stigma' for her?
Why should I be told what I should wear? Why can I not wear what I feel comfortable in. Mr Lawmaker, if you are reading, why should I be the one living in fear or being made to live in fear? Shouldn't that sick mind be living in fear? Too many questions, no? Of course, I'm frustrated with the restrictions, with the fear. Can I be allowed to carry a sharp object like a knife, without being questioned, in public transport. I do carry pepper spray. But if that's not handy, can I carry a knife? Or will you question me on that too? Should we also take to streets and start massive movements or should we punish them in our own way? Is that the last resort?