The morning of 17thDecember would not be forgotten by us in years to come. Centre For Social Research is a ‘ Nodal agency for rape crisis intervention in south west district of Delhi ‘ , which means our councilors are called in by the police to help the victims. As this gruesome crime took place in South Delhi, our phones were ringing constantly.
As we were informed about the details of the case, we were all shocked. We tried to think of what could have been done? Where did we fail? Was there a precaution which could have been taken to prevent this heinous crime. The more we thought about this specific case, the lapses became clearer.
From the lack of vigilance of the police to the lack of attention given to creation of a secure environment for women. As we contemplated on our plan of action, our friends from the Jawahar Lal Nehru Univesity student union called us, thinking exactly along the same lines. There was need for action, and an action of a different sort, led by students followed by common people. So we decided on a march from the JNU university to the Vasant Vihar Police station.
Our demands were for justice. Not only for the victim of the brutal gang rape, but for victims of sexual crimes across the nation. (People have asked us again & again , why this case? What was so different? honestly for us that was not the question, and personally I think we needed to take a stand, to say enough was enough to stand up for the women of this country).
As we protested in front of the Vasant Vihar police station which was just a few yards away from the bus stop where the girl had boarded that bus, our friends in Media ensured that our voice received an national platform. Social media was another major support to our movement, it was a matter of minutes as the news spread across the nation.
We had to make our voice heard, we had to ensure common people got a chance to have their say. We decided on a demonstration at India gate. People joined in there were series of SMS’s , emails & social media messages sent across the nation. The turnout at India gate was one that the nation had never seen before. A people’s movement, with not one leader but many, with not one group but every, not a political cause but a social one. The message was simple make our country safe for women. Convict these rapists take sustainable steps to ensure the implementation of law though out the country.
Finally the authorities were listening, Delhi Police was under pressure to arrest the men responsible. One must say they did a magnificent job of arresting these men though they had fled to different parts of the country. Across the nation the protests continued. The demand is one of the birth rights of every human being, ‘ To be safe ‘ , not only in their homes but also on their streets, not only when its daylight but also when its night, not only because they are men but also for women.
As important as it was to highlight the problem, so was the aspect of looking for solutions. Sustainable, long lasting, solutions for change. Not only for systematic changes in implementation of the law, but also an approach to prevent crime against women.
The recommendations for better & increased policing are being discussed at the ministry. Centre for social research with other NGO’s has restarted the gender sensitization trainings ‘ Do Kadam ‘ with the police. Our effort to raise awareness against gender based violence continues through our various advocacy campaigns.
We know the process is gradual and it will take time. Though if the effort is honest we can surely make our homes our streets our cities and our nation safer for women.