This is addressed to all women, including me. Let’s be practical and ask ourselves. Are we empowered enough? Are we leading better lives than our grandmothers and their mothers? And most, importantly, are we happy?
The recent incident that has jolted the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu this past week is the hacking to death of a techie in broad daylight in full public glare. No one came to assist her; she was helplessly left to die on the platform. Social media was flooded with reasons and reactions as the police force went all out to nab the accused. For some strange reason, though I don’t know the girl personally, as a woman and a mother, I was emotionally very disturbed after the incident.
Local and national newspapers ran updates on the developments which I religiously followed. One thing was certain: the motive was no ordinary one and must be linked to relationship issues. No one would otherwise choose to hack someone and walk away just like anyone else in the street. When video footage of the accused was officially released, I stared in disbelief to see the accused walking normally without even looking back to see if anyone was following him. In fact, he was lucky, no one actually did. He walked as did anyone else on the road; there was not a drop of blood on his shirt and his face was stoic.
With this episode in mind, let’s look at some questions that it throws up:
- If I am trained in self-defence techniques, will I be capable of saving myself when someone attacks me from behind? If I am surrounded by armed hooligans, can I fight them? Certainly not, unless of course, I am shooting for a movie.
- Many stations in Chennai did not have CCTV cameras until this incident brought out the necessity for one. Even if they did have CCTV cameras, can such crimes be prevented? Do perpetrators of crime care about being caught on camera? Unless people are pro-active, there is no use. Why didn’t anyone come to aid a helpless girl? Did they fear attack from an armed youth? Did they fear harassment from the police post the incident? Or simply, “It doesn’t affect me…why get into unnecessary hassles” mind-set? No answers have been found to this question.
- If a boy proposes his love to a girl, she must accept or face consequences. Either she will be attacked and left to suffer for life or will be killed. Today’s youth want instant solutions to problems. They are impatient and refuse to take ‘NO’ for an answer. They will either have it or destroy it. Such is the rage.
- In movies, we come across situations where a poor, uneducated boy proposes to a girl socially and professionally higher than him. They encounter problems, but the movie has a happy ending. Can reel become real? Are films misguiding today’s youth into believing that impossible is indeed possible?
- Are women empowered, then? They can be stalked, killed, raped, disowned, burnt—the list is endless! Yes, we have come a very long way in every sense of the word, but are we safe—inside our own homes, in the bus, in educational institutions, in the workplace, or anywhere for that matter?
These are just some of the questions that immediately come to my mind. Somewhere it points towards parenting techniques too. We as parents need to make it very clear to our children that many a time, they may not get what they want; they must learn to move on, rather than being obdurate. As our children walk towards adolescence, we must transform too, from being parents to becoming friends. Listening, being patient and guiding our children towards the right track is essential in this technology-driven generation where children encounter more complex situations than what we did as a child. Besides, we must help others, whether known or unknown, in times of emergency to deter such heinous crime from recurring. Above all, unless punishments are severe, crimes will continue unabated. Only a safe haven can lead women empowerment to greater heights, giving women more reasons and opportunities to celebrate.
Let’s come together to make this a reality.