Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Why women and their safety will not be on agenda of political parties.

"Why don't people first control their daughters? I'd burn my daughter alive if she was having pre-marital sex,roaming around with her boyfriend at night" 
- The defense lawyer, on the Nirbhaya case verdict. 

There are a lot of inherent problems with democracy, notwithstanding that it is the lesser of the devils, hence supported. I agree with Oscar Wilde when he says, "Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people". 
However, my problem as of now is related to the fact that the government does not care much about those whose votes do not form a bank. The unrepresented unorganized minorities. There are a lot of them, but I will talk of one complex group. It is complex because they live with the mainstream - the women.

And here's why, even after universal franchise, women, and their safety will not form a vote bank in India:

1. I will not talk about literacy rates or education here. Because its not like those who do make vote banks make any logical or informed decision. I will talk of the fact that voting is a collectivist event for most families in India. Most women do not have a say in these matters at all, and will put out their vote for whoever the head of the family/ their husband decides.

2. And who will be the head of the family? It will most often be a male. This male would have been brought up knowing he is special, because, well, he is a man. It is drilled into his head that protecting and controlling the women of his family is his duty and responsibility. The protecting and controlling may be referring to many other things, but majorly focuses on her sexuality. The only saving grace of having a daughter is that you get to perform "kanyadaan", or "gift the virgin", a ceremony in the weddings when the parents give away their virgin daughter. Now, what if, this virginity was to be "looted", as it is put is the conventional language? What is the point of having this daughter anyway? The woman could have had consensual sex with her lover or she could have been raped- it hardly makes a difference. Oh yes, maybe the rapist is also ostracised and/or killed. Oh wait, that happens with lovers too. 

Coming back to the central point, since it is the man's duty to protect and "control" the women of his family, all events related to it become "family issues". How can the government, (read: police, etc.) and the society interfere? There come the obstacles in the implementation of the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act (2006), and the hesitations and disinterest in passing a law against Marital Rape.

Concluding this point, what can the government do, if you cannot control your women? So there goes the vote of the man who will influence the votes of his family members.

3. What if some of the women do have their own minds inside of the polling booths, you ask?

Even if they did vote after putting in their own thought and needs, too many have their thought process so cultured into patriarchy, that they genuinely do believe that in cases of crimes against women, it is usually the woman's fault - of provoking the crime. 

They also, like their men, believe it is the girls' responsibility to save her "honour", and if it does come under threat, it is the responsibility of the brothers and the father to save her (corollary: if she is out alone, or without a male family memeber, its her fault), and if it does get to the stage that her "honour is violated", it is the girl whose life is over, and needs to be put to death.
(Technically, she should just commit suicide out of shame, so as to not put her family through the the pain of killing her), but shameless as these girls are, the family needs to pitch in).

So again, how can the woman expect anything from the government, when she has been grown to believe that it is all, in fact, her fault?

And this is why we need Feminism. For the sake of better functioning of democracy. For our life.