6th of December, 2014, another rape in the capital city. Ironically, it seems like the more publicity these sex crimes get the more confident the offenders are getting.
A young urban lady raped in a private taxi on her way home. This lady acted with apparent prudence when she chose UBER – a high end taxi app to provide her with a safe ride home. She did nothing seemingly wrong except to nod off in what was supposed to be her personal chauffeur driven car for the night.
There is enough being said about Uber; how the company has failed to perform background checks on their drivers, how Uber has not been apologetic enough, and of course the government has banned Uber from functioning in Delhi.
If The Cap Fits, Wear It.
Uber is facing the fire for not providing adequate background screening of their registered drivers. The sad truth is that Uber may just be the scape goat here for a crack in the system that runs so deep that we have forgotten where it all started. This is not the first crime of its kind. It has happened everywhere from local trains to public buses and now private taxis.
It appears that the rapist in this case is a repeat sex offender. That did not stop him from getting employment and getting himself registered as a driver with an elite international web based taxi service provider. It cannot be argued that Uber failed in its self proclaimed commitment to connecting people to the safest ride on the road. Uber promises to provide the strictest safety standards possible, the specifics of which vary depending on what local governments allow.
We Are Not Safe.
In India, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), every day 93 women are being raped in the country. In fact according to NCRB data, there has been an increase in the number of rapes reported – from 24,923 in 2012 to 33,707 in 2013. It may be that it is due to increased awareness that people are reporting the crimes rather than hushing them up but what is astonishing is that despite the uproar after the Nirbhaya case in 2012, the national capital continues to be the most unsafe place for women in the country. Appallingly the number of rapes in Delhi has doubled from 585 in 2012 to 1,441 in 2013 alone. It can safely be deduced that the number of sexual crimes against women is on a steady up-rise.
These numbers indicate some serious shortcomings in the fiber of our society.
The message is clear – even with rape laws in place, the law is not a deterrent here. Offenders are obviously not afraid to commit this heinous crime. These anti-social deviants seem to believe that every woman’s body is available to be used as a cheap tool to deliver some momentary pleasure.
So Who Is To Blame?
- Is Uber to be blamed for not living up to its promise of providing the strictest safety standards possible? To that extent yes.
- Are the lawmakers to be blamed for not deterring this growing epidemic of rape? Yes, that is un-doubtable.
- Is society responsible for breeding rapists and sex offenders? Yes, there is definitely something wrong here.
- Finally, is a rape victim to be blamed – for inviting rape, for travelling unaccompanied at night, or in this case for dozing off in her private taxi? NO! NO! NO!
Things Have To Change.
There has to be a change. A decapitating fear must be planted in the mind of a sex offender. The kind of fear that millions of rape victims have been made to feel when being brutalized; the kind of fear that freezes the mind and body into a paralyzed state of numb helplessness.
Society needs to change. This change has to come in from a grass root level, through social awareness, education and stricter, tighter laws.
And lastly, the rape victim has to change too – she needs to stop being afraid to be herself and feel free to exist as a woman.
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