Sir, I’m writing this to you to let you know what millions of women like me are feeling and thinking. I’m 29 years old, married, and I work in an MNC in Pune. I’m writing to you to voice my concerns regarding the frequency of rapes across the country, and not just for the recent brutal gang rape in Delhi.
Sir, I’m scared of the situation right now. Anyone can rape me on my way to and from work. It could be my colleague, the cab driver, the watchman; anyone can do what they like with a woman and get away. By getting away I mean that a rapist will probably be awarded 14 years in jail, and that too after a long and expensive trial. The judicial process is so time-consuming and expensive, and rapists have so frequently been exonerated for “lack of evidence” that salaried people like me would probably not want to report a rape in the first place. Sir, I can’t carry a knife or gun in my bag, because that’s illegal in our country. How, then, am I to protect myself since we clearly don’t have enough police to guard the people?
Also, if a rapist kills me before I give my statement, the existing laws will let him go unpunished for lack of evidence. He may be tried for attempt to murder, and even if he is given 14 years of jail term, what is the guarantee that such a man will not repeat the crime after he returns to the society? Sir, can a 33 year old man who rapes a girl with 5 other men and uses a rod to rip her intestines out be reformed? Why, then, are we considering a situation in which such a man, or others like him, can roam around freely in society?
Sir, I’m writing this from desperation. I’m scared. If this situation continues, women will not want to go out. There will be more female infanticides and honour killings. More women will commit suicide, or refrain from reporting rapes because they know that nothing will come of it. How can we progress if we still have laws, that in a roundabout way, protect those who commit crimes against women? Why can’t we have a law with teeth, that will not only ensure punishment for criminals, but also act as a deterrent for those who have rape in their minds?
Sir, I’m also writing with hope that if I ever have a girl-child, I will be able to tell her that I’ve helped build a nation for her that respects and cares for women. It’s unfortunate that my parents can’t say that to me. I can take part in social drives, education camps, mass rallies. But sir, let us at least have a sign from the government of India that you care.
I have already signed an online petition addressed to the President of India; you can do the same.