Rudhdi Walawalkar is a first year law student at ILS Law college, Pune. She reads, writes and paints as much as she eats and sleeps! I think it’s nice to have an opinion in a world where everyone wants to be politically correct. Passionate about women’s right, cats, dogs and pretty much everything under the sun. Oh! I always strive to be a better Gryffindor- where dwell the brave at heart.
An open letter to a victim of Gender Based Violence.
Let me begin by apologizing for all that you went through. I know this apology will probably mean nothing but I’m disgusted and saddened by what you underwent due to the decadence in society.
What is the feeling of ‘safety’? It’s something that makes one feel secure, calm and eliminates any sense of fear. Every time a woman steps out of her comfort zone, this very feeling of ‘safety’ is absent. Be it a lonely street at night or a crowded train ride. Considering the increase in the number of reported rapes, molestations, eve-teasing incidences, harassment at work places this is hardly surprising. You mustn’t be feeling very safe now. This is what we, as a society, aim to change.
Now, why is this fear fundamentally wrong? This fear dangling at the back of the minds of women is potentially harmful. The statistics regarding women and children facing physical/sexual/mental abuse are appalling and thinking that this topic is taboo or a minor issue is hardly correct. What is necessary is more awareness, discussions and making sure that victims get the required help and speedy justice.
Gender based violence knows no social or economic boundaries. It leads to derailment of both, physical and mental health of the victim. At this point, two things are of utmost importance. One, care of the victim, and two, making sure the perpetrator is held accountable appropriately.
In times when blaming and shaming the victim is prevalent, we must realise that it is NOT the fault of the victim. This must be reiterated to the ‘you’ because blaming yourself is often followed by self-harm. Your rehabilitation into the society is equally important, now. Go to a counsellor and don’t be ashamed of it.
Speedy justice is the next thing that needs to be addressed. Reporting the crime as soon as possible is a must. We hear numerous times that the Police are not exactly co-operative. But that shouldn’t be a deterrent; garner as much support as is needed to get it done. Keep following up with the case. Fight till the end. Yes, it’s a long, arduous process, it will be stressful. Don’t let this discourage you. Fight till you get justice. Make effective use of media outlets and the social media. This will further encourage other victims to raise their voices. This kind of mobilization will work wonders, both, for you and other victims. It will help in spreading awareness in the society. What better way is there, to address an issue than by beginning to talk about it.
Lastly, don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid of the perpetrator; of your family, friends, peers; of the society; authority. You will receive mixed reactions from the society. There will be hate. But there will also be support and this should be your strength. You will find help from the most unexpected places. Do not give up. Justice will be sought. Most importantly, never be silent. Never compromise. Don’t give in to injustice because that’s where the oppressors get their power. That’s where they feel they can get away with what they’ve done.
Shatter these unjust stereotypes. Fight. You WILL win.
Opinions expressed are of the writer.