In the recent past weeks,an unusual, somewhat unnatural incidence has come to fore.
All these years, I have been taught that women are the species most susceptible to be wronged. More prone to physical, emotional, sexual and mental assaults. Not just after marriage by in-laws.But some unfortunate ones suffer immediately, birth onwards. For some lucky ones, the suffering ends soon: under the banner of female infanticide. For some with an ounce of remaining luck, they are burnt alive for dowry-related matters. For the not-so-lucky others, they have to bear the brunt of being a girl all their life: the rest of the majority of women (especially in rural areas) suffer for a lifetime. At the hands of their family, husband, in-laws, society..the list is never-ending. A new trend of rape is swathing the country..I am not sure if its the increase in the incidence of rapes or the increase in report of crime. I hope its the latter. The urban, literate and educated population of women are also increasingly being harassed..ogled, groped, teased, molested and raped.
In such a light, strict laws against all perpetrators is a must. An example is the Section 498. It was instated by the constitution to bring to immediate justice the plea of a grieved woman. In a country like ours, it was almost a crime to not do so. A country where most sexual assaults/ marital assaults are not brought to light for fear of societal reactions. So the ones that muster the courage to do are not left unheard. Yes, that was why and several such reasons sections like 498A came into existence like we have it today.They are indeed, still a mandatory need in our country.
Then what about the recent talks of repealing this certain law..How can we even dare to think about such a thing! Like I started this article with. An example to the contrary belief. Men can damage women. A colleague at a workplace has accused her supposedly good friend of harassment. Having known both of them for a few years now, most of these complaints against the so-called criminal appear untrue.They appear more like an outbreak of multiple feuds over several months and seem like something being done to settle old scores. Unfortunately, that is not how the internal committee opines.And the committee is mostly made of women..as they can more easily empathize with the complainant.They intend to take strict actions against the offender, like a case of guilty unless proven otherwise. Just because the complainant is a woman. And the chances of a girl lying about such issues is difficult to swallow. Why would she bring upon her the wrath of society by lying about all this? Is their plain question. For most girls who file such a complaint after actually suffering from these problems, this stand would be appreciated and admired. But what about cases like these? Where most of the offences may not even be true. For the first time in my life, I felt the need of a male chauvinist, especially in that committee. To give a fair chance of defense to the supposed offender, not call him guilty-unless proven otherwise.
While I was writing this, I also came across an incident in an upmarket town of a girl being insulted and harrowed because she raised her voice against a molester. In such cases, laws like section 498 are needed. But in the case above, the same law can ruin an innocent’s life.
The decision to implement laws like this still seems to be controversial to me. Overall, if they are going to prosecute actual perpetrators 90% of the times, innocents may still be punished 10% of the time. The odds are still in favour of these strict laws. We like them or not. Its the best bargain we have!