‘Rape’, a crime that is the most heinous, but which mostly goes unpunished. Several cases of rape and murder, especially of minors have come to light in the Northeast in recent years.
While a few victims have managed to get justice after a long struggle, there are many cases where the perpetuators such crimes are roaming scot free.
Rape is not just a violation of the physical form; rather it leaves long standing scars on the victim’s emotions, her very soul. Moreover, the social ostracism that a victim suffers in the hands of society also prevents many from reporting the crime.
In fact, only a handful of cases are actually reported, while victims are forced to withdraw into a dark world of sorrow and pain, lest the society comes to know about her misfortune.
Many times when a minor as young as four years of age is raped, her fragile young mind is unable to comprehend what the perpetuator has actually done. What rubs salt to the wound is the fact in most cases the rapist or molester is a person known to the child. As such, even if she complains, people do not easily believe her.
By the time a minor grows up and eventually realizes how she has been violated, much damage has already been done to her psyche. A nightmare, which is hard to forget, leaving a permanent scar on her mental and emotional well being.
While there are laws to strictly deal with molestations and rapes, the families of many victims give up their fight for justice half way. The court cases are usually long and also put the families under financial burden. Many accused also manage to get bail because of their high and mighty connections.
On the other hand, while psychological counseling is available for victims to help them come out of the trauma, many hesitate to avail it.
However, with fast track courts being set up in many states, there is still hope of rape victims getting speedy justice. The state government, as well as, the judiciary should ensure that speedy judgment is provided in cases concerning such grave crimes and the assailants are awarded with life imprisonment, if not capital punishment as per the law of the land.
Take the instance of the rape and murder of two girls of the same family in Abhayukti area of Kokrajhar in Assam in 2021. The girls were found hanging from a tree by locals. A fast-track court awarded death penalty to the three accused in April this year. Though accused persons usually appeal in a higher court to reduce their sentence, the judiciary should ensure that they are punished.
Herein comes the role of parents and guardians to teach the girl child to speak up if any person, whether known or unknown to them, makes them feel uncomfortable in any manner. They should be taught that from a tender age that it is not OK for people to tough them in any way they like. If they complain molestations can be averted.
The increasing number of rape cases also throws light on the deteriorating psyche of youngsters these days. It is indeed worrisome that many accused are themselves young youths, some as young as 18 years of age.
It is time every mother teaches their sons to respect women, only then can the girl child be truly safe. Men should be taught to view women as their equal, rather than an object of gratification. Only and only then will crime against women reduce in society.