The disappointing case of patriarchy and rising crimes against women

By Sheikh Imran. Dated: 12/12/2019 8:12:06 PM

Women throughout the course of history have been used as a subject of amusement, dominance, entertainment and submission at different times. In the modern world though the position of women has changed and bettered itself a great deal in many developed countries, the awakening started during French Revolution in 1789 and proved a paradigm shift in women rights movement in France which saw the participation of women in political activities and their involvement in press. The struggles of women world-over slowly and steadily got acknowledgement and in today's modern world many countries have women at powerful positions which were else monopolized by males only. The field of philosophy and political sciences also saw emergence of strong women voices like Virginia Woolf, Kate Millet, Simmone de Beauvoir, who strongly opposed the established system of male dominance through their works and their work continues to inspire and encourage women all around the world till date.
Unlike most of the countries where women were granted rights after a long drawn struggles and movements, India right at the attainment of her independence rolled out a constitutional framework which realized the dream of an equal and progressive India with women also being taken into account for equality. Successive governments have thus far worked in the field of women empowerment, brought schemes and laws meant to benefit and protect women. It was of course expected in a country which itself is considered as a motherly figure by many, but to our dismay and disappointment what we experience today despite all the laws and rights framed for the protection of women' right is not something to be proud of; instead these happenings have forced the nation's head into shame and embarrassment.
The fulfillment of an egalitarian India will be incomplete and impossible if we start stripping people of their preferences, choices and freedoms and this is what has happened to women in our country. Our society harbours and nurtures patriarchy and male dominance to a venomous extent, males are considered to be solely responsible for all the major decisions from our homes to our assemblies and Parliament. Women are portrayed as weak and incapable gender which can't take care of themselves and neither can they take any wise decision concerning even their own personal lives, scenes of which are often exhibited by some our politicians brazenly in Parliament and public gatherings.
Kate Millet rightly argues that throughout history the relationship between sexes has been of domination and subordination, in which men have exercised domination in two forms - through social authority and economic force. The emphasis is on patriarchy as a system to establish that men's power over women is not an individual phenomenon but is a part of structure. Such excerpts will figure out quite easily if we consider and analyse our society bit keenly and a little closely.
The manifestation and institutionalisation of male dominance over women and children and the extension of male dominance over women has deprived women the power and privileges males enjoy whether in a smaller example of a family or at a larger stage like industries, employment.
Apart from strict control of women's sexuality through strictly policed institution of monogamous marriage women's labour power is also controlled by men. There are men who determine whether women could work outside the household or not. To maintain this control over women's sexuality, labour and movement, they are deprived access to and ownership of productive resources. The institution of patriarchy is efficiently used to regulate the mobility of women through societal norms which confine women within strictly defined spaces in turn making women dependent on males.
We as a society need to introspect and rectify the wrong within the society, rapists and sexual offenders come from our society, they grow up in this society which still feels that having a girl child is unfortunate and having a baby boy is something to be boasted and bragging about, it's the society which provides them with the driving force behind their ill ambitions and at its pinnacle they end up raping women riding high on the over-zealous privilege of chauvinistic male ego and "strength". It's the time that we acknowledge the being of women and confer upon them what rightfully belongs to them, It's time to stop ridiculing and looking down on rape victims and instead support them in their quest for justice. There is a popular saying that "prevention is better than cure". We should focus on preventing the mentality of male chauvinism instead of focusing on changing the way women dress, poisonous TV debates, rallies in favours of rapists or running media trials won't stop another Nirbhaya, Kathua, Hyderabad and Unnao from happening.
It is the patriarchal mindset which is solely responsible for nurturing and harbouring of beasts under the camouflage of humans in our society, crimes against women and patriarchy compliments each other perfectly well. We need to shift our thinking from primitive conservatism to progressive and rational approach and stop the development of the gender disparity right from our homes, besides a social responsibility our constitution also forbids us from discrimination on the basis of gender we should take a step forward in that direction. Our judiciary has an important role to play in ensuring justice to the aggrieved victims, cases of rape can be tried on fast track basis and the criminals of such cruel and barbaric acts can be given exemplary stringent punishments and it may actually work as a deterrent in future. But the role of society to understand its social responsibility is much bigger than that of Judiciary in connection of stopping crimes against women, Judiciary has a corrective role, it can punish the rapists but it can't prevent rapists from coming into being. The society has a cure in the form of prevention lying with it and this cure needs to be put into effect, this can stop rapists from coming into being.
The author is freelance columnist from Kishtwar



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