Her eyes were bright, dreamy
Her soul was free and spirited
She wished to find her place in the world
Her love for life was pure, uninhibited.
Then one day the brightness left her eyes
Her body bruised, her soul battered
She wondered what she did wrong
Was her life, forever, tainted?
Try as we may, we can never even come close to fathoming what goes on in the hearts and minds of the innocent people (girls, boys, men, women, etc.) who go through the terrible and painful ordeal of sexual violence. The world is progressing, everything ‘simple’ is getting replaced with something ‘smart’, and yet as a society we are witnessing the worst ever situation concerning safety and security of women, children, and human beings in general.
We Indians have always been hypocrites. We never practice what we preach. What is right for us isn’t right for others and vice versa. Having brought up in such a setting, there are certain things that we as children are expected, taught or made to accept as normal and routine. Anything that might not highlight our family’s name in the most positive light is a clear no-no. This, in a major way, aids in us, as people, to start becoming tolerant of intolerable issues.
It is truly saddening that an innocent girl had to loose her spirit, her dreams, her respect and her life to make us get up and notice the extent to which sexual violence is rampant in our everyday lives. It takes the slightest trigger, digression and motive for a non-criminal to resort to the most heinous crimes that can mar a person forever.
Whilst we are slowly making our way in creating awareness amongst people, there are certain solid steps that need to be taken for the victim to feel assured that her/his case will be dealt with utmost sincerity. No one leaves home in the morning expecting something like this to happen with them. The victim is innocent and very vulnerable and should be handled and treated with love and care, not sympathy. Only then can we hope people to come ahead and report such incidents.
Here are a few reasons why I think reporting such incidents should be encouraged.
1.Truth is stranger than fiction: This old adage is still relevant. Our wildest imagination cannot conjure up the brutality, insensitivity and ruthlessness that a person can display in reality. We try to feign ignorance and disdain the sight of such news. However, what we need to admit is that it has happened somewhere on this earth and may get repeated. The reporting of such news is done as much for justice as it is for creating awareness.
2.The culprit is closer than we think: While we can never be careful enough with strangers, we have to keep our eyes open for the wolves even on our side of the door. Cases of incest, marital rape, sodomizing etc. go unreported in most cases owing to the shame it will bring to the victim and his family. In such cases, especially, the victim needs to be counselled and encouraged to put his side of the story forward, come what may. It will also give others the courage to follow suit.
3.To avoid repeat offences: Once a victim, always a victim. If a person takes such an incident lying down once, he’s subjecting himself to the same treatment over and over again by letting the accused believe that he will not speak about it. This can have severe psychological effects and the victim can be scarred for life.