It has been a terrible few days. First with the news of the innocent lives taken by mindless shooting and then waking up to the news of a woman gang-raped in a moving bus by 4 men in the national capital of India, Delhi.
I read the headlines and purposefully avoided the article at the beginning of what is going to be a busy week till I got a message from my friend Manisha about how the issue was asked to be paid attention to by the Rajya Sabha member Jaya Bachchan and she was asked to cut it short since it was considered a time-waste by the speaker of the house. I was aggravated about the callous behavior of the Speaker for not only trying to brush aside the emotional outburst of the member of Rajya Sabha but also his inability to feel concerned about the issue too.
As much as I love India and its culture, the choice of its citizens to overlook, ignore and brush aside the issues of women is quite shameful. I find us as a society guilty of hiding the shameful acts of aggression on women be it rape, molestation of girls or harassment by husband’s family towards their daughter-in-law quite drenched in hypocrisy. When it comes to rape, media loves to sensationalize it while our government tries to brush it aside. Very soon, the near and dear ones of the victim start blaming the victim for being out and about, wearing tight jeans, having her hair open, or just looking attractive. For molestation victims, for high number of victims it is someone within the family that takes advantage of the child and by the time the child is able to find a way to bring attention of the others, family reputation of the adult aggressor becomes an excuse for family to shut off the very idea of seeking help. By the time the girl is married and gets to her in-laws place and is ill-treated by in-laws, neither parents or husbands want to support them. Parents feel they just washed their hands off of a huge liability while husbands have not yet learnt to stand up on their own to care for his wife financially and emotionally. All this while the society fasts and celebrates the Mother Goddess as the provider of Wealth, Knowledge and Strength to overcome the evils in the society.
I understand the despair of Mrs. Bachchan to be brushed aside while other house representatives choose to stay quite and unaffected by her concern. Have we become too used to ignore these issues and just give up on social justice for women and her place in the Indian society to be just an object of means to an end? Why do we call all women sisters in our national pledge when the country turns deaf ears to the sufferings of these sisters from the moment of conception?
Without doubt I know that each of the South Asian women reading this post has a person story to share and can not and will not to save family honor. We should honor each other for the compassion we show our families and society while it continues ignore our need to speak up. Please send a note of support to Mrs. Jayaji with a message on your tweets/walls.