Guest post by Saurin Parikh, an advertising entrepreneur and a writer:
It’s been nearly two weeks since the gang rape in Delhi, and the country remains abuzz with outrages & protests over the very unfortunate incident. In fact, calling it ‘unfortunate’ seems like an understatement. It just shouldn’t have happened. Rapes and sexual abuses of any kind shouldn’t happen even once, but the fact that they happen with such frequency is alarming and disheartening.
We can’t begin to fathom what goes through the mind of a man who rapes a woman. What is even more difficult to understand is what goes through the mind of the woman who is being raped. A rape leaves scars that cannot be seen and cannot be healed. No one else but the victim can know what these emotional scars feel like. Which is probably why we outage where we can.
However, it would be wrong if we stopped at merely outraging and protesting. People are taking to the streets and forcing the government out of inaction, but that’s never going to be enough. You and I are definitely not going to do anything that will change the apathetic behaviour of our police force or the selfish nature of our politicians, but what we can change is our own outlook.
We can stop being indifferent, and help someone in need. The girl fought with all her will, she received the finest medical treatment in India and even in Singapore, but to no avail. We woke up today morning to the news of her death, to the news of another blossoming life ending abruptly, and cruelly. There have been reports that she and her friend had been lying on the roads of Delhi after being thrown out of the bus for nearly 3 hours. I am appalled at the rapists, but I am more appalled at everybody else who saw them lying there but chose to ignore them. Why didn’t even one person help them? I am sure her life would have been saved if she had received medical attention sooner. In cases like these, a few minutes can make a world of a difference. She was left unattended for 3 hours.
We protest over the government inaction, we outrage over the mindset of the rapists, but we forget to blame those bystanders who didn’t help the girl when she needed it the most. What would you have done? Ordinarily, most of us would have chosen to look the other way as well. And this is exactly what we need to change.
Next time you come across a situation of eve teasing, physical abuse or harassment of any kind, don’t look the other way. We can stop ourselves from turning a blind eye to such situations, something that we usually do. It’ll be tough, we might get into a fight, we might get harassed by the police, we might be at the risk of causing harm to ourselves, but if we really want things to change, we have got to be the ones to initiate it. We can’t sit back and blame the government for not doing enough, we aren’t doing enough either.
A lot of crimes are committed because the culprit knows that in 9 cases out of 10, the victim will receive no help from the people around them. It’s time for us to bring that ratio down. Outrage on the internet as much as you want, protests on the streets as much as you can, but when faced with a real situation, make sure you help a probable victim from turning into a victim. That will be one less life ruined and one less incident to outrage about.