“Less than 40 per cent of the women who experience violence seek help of any sort.” If a fact like this does not trigger us, what will? We have chosen the social issue of “Violence against Women” and my question to you is- ‘Why and How is it NOT important to contribute towards this social issue?’ ‘Being catcalled’ has become a woman’s best friend and ‘being glared at’ is now a social norm. Women have been treated as “the second sex” since the beginning of time and are subject to all kinds of violence namely physical, psychological as well as emotional. We can assure you that 4 out of 5 women have faced violence or harassment in any form by certain men. As unfortunate and extremely saddening as it may sound, this is the reality we live in. The subtlety of uncomfortable touch, being teased and being occasionally groped has made its way into a woman’s life.

A woman is not safe in any part of the world and for some, not even in their own homes. Although all genders are subject to violence, more than several women have been beaten, raped, murdered, undermined and completely destroyed and yet, it is somehow only a women’s issue. Shouldn’t everyone work towards uplifting women and not objectifying them as just another possession in the room? In speaking out against violence against women, you are in no way condoning violence against men. There is enough space in the discourse to have compassion for all groups. Nevertheless, giving a voice to a marginalised group in society who for decades have not had a voice, is a powerful and vital conversation.

Will we ever get to live in a world where women can live without the constant fear of how she should dress, how she must talk to the opposite gender without sending the wrong message or what time she must return home? Emma Watson had once stated in her speech, “HE FOR SHE”- “It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum instead of 2 sets of opposing ideals.” Maybe what we seek for is an extremely far-fetched utopic vision but we definitely feel that one can contribute to this social issue for a better tomorrow, if not the best. A real man is not violent and a real woman is not tolerant of it. Since historical times, men and women have been taught that a woman is the second sex because after she gets married, she belongs to another household.

In ancient times, a man would hunt food and later be the only earning member of the family because of which he felt obliged to treat his counterpart in any way that he felt was right. This is also the belief one passes on to their children after they have practiced it. Times have changed but most people’s mindset certainly hasn’t. There is this burning desire to announce to the world and remind many people that we live in the 21st Century but by doing that, we would not be helping anyone in any way as people’s belief system is deep-rooted. A person’s belief is extremely powerful and can hardly be deterred, especially after one grows older. In a country like India, our beliefs and principles are extremely prioritized since they have been passed down by our ancestors.

In contemporary times, People have definitely started addressing and protesting against “Violence against Women” but it is incredibly unfortunate to announce that the horror is still prevalent, now more than ever. On January 19, 2021; The High Court had ruled that pressing the breast of a 12-year old child without removing her clothes will only fall within the definition of outraging the modesty of woman under Section 354 of Indian Penal Code (IPC). While sexual assault under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act carries a punishment of imprisonment between 3 to 5 years, “the minimum punishment for outraging modesty of woman under Section 354 of IPC is only 1 year.” This statement feels like a harassment itself. If a person outrages the modesty of a female where there is no skin to skin contact, does it not mean that the person still had the same intent as a rapist did? How is it okay to not take such heinous crimes seriously? Have we, as women, not been touched inappropriately in public places many times to understand exactly how horrible the feeling is? It is incredibly shameful that such laws have been passed.

If this kind of carelessness against such serious crimes continues, a day may arrive where, it may not be ruled as rape if a person uses a condom since there is no “skin to skin” contact. It is overwhelmingly unfortunate that this is what our nation has come to. As individuals, we cannot change the world completely in a single day or maybe not even in the near future, but we strongly believe that although we may not be able to bring a 100 per cent change in the future, we can bring about some change by doing as much as we can today. We are aware of the fact that in today’s world, many people are angered and tired of hearing about the issue of violence against women or feminism, but if the readers are angered, one can only imagine how wronged and infuriated the women who are subject to violence feel.

Majority of us must feel incredibly grateful that our parents have raised us in a manner where we have never been treated as the second sex but unfortunately, not all women are privileged to be brought up in this manner. We may never be able to relate to these women but the least we can do is try to help them in any way we can. The fight is extremely long and infuriating but it shall be noticed and it shall be fought.

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