An Enlightening New Year Message
India is notorious for its prevalence of domestic and sexual abuse of women; it was estimated by The Times of India that ninety-two women are raped everyday in India, with 4 in India’s capital city—a city which has had its name tarnished by several major events that have led to international outrage, particularly the Delhi Gang Rape of 2012. Indeed, the safety of women in India has never been assured—and this has led to the suffering and pain of women across the country.
SMS Message to Eve-Teasers
However, positive change is steadily taking place in our midst; in this scenario, it is by the Indian police. As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, “Nearly 600,000 Indian men who have sexually harassed or taunted women will receive a text message from police during the New Year reminding them to be on their best behaviour”. This is to ensure that those convicted will not revert back to their previous practices; men who have taunted or harassed women are regarded as eve-teasers; “eve-teaser” is a South Asian terminology. In the words of the senior police officer Navniet Sekera— “The message to Eve-teasers, or pesky callers, is a reminder that the police have their record. It is meant as a deterrent. We are trying to tell them that any attempt to trouble women and create mischief will prompt strict action”.
Response to this Measure
However, not all responses to this initiative and measure have been positive; as said by Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association, “It’s an image-building exercise, a fairy-tale being spun out by the police.” Indeed, the response to this measure has been different from different quarters; however, this measure undoubtedly has the potential to bring about a positive, social change—in one of the most important spheres of society. Assault and harassment are issues that have to be reinforced among the minds of the offenders, and what the Indian police has done is a gentle reminder—not too drastic, but still has the ability to be highly effective.
This measure is also an important, tangible step towards women empowerment. Given the prevalence of rape and sexual abuse across India, and the amount of pain and misery that follows in its wake, it is crucial that an end is put to this culture. However, it is not enough to merely accept a lesson and forget; therefore, this action of the Indian police—to send a text message to Eve-teasers reminding them to treat women with respect—has the potential to yield tremendous results.
[Image Attribute: niekverlaan]