As India struggles with the ‘Unprecedented’ Public Rage Over Gang Rape In India‘ (as per NPR report), many are calling for a very severe penalty to the rapists. This call is being uttered practically all over India, however, the “rage” might not be enough to stop the ‘free-hand’ of rapists. There are much more to be done on the legal, political and cultural front to make a significant change.
In the past past centuries, many societies have considered rape as usually the fault of the “one being raped” and even demonized the victims. Recently the world has started to recognize that rape and abuses towards women and children are abominable and strict laws were enacted. However, rape is still prevalent in many countries and the rapists or abusers are not punished, largely because of the culture of fear and shame surrounding the stigma of being raped or molested. This leaves us with one big question: Do we have to change the cultural views through education?
While the perpetrators of this infamous rape in India were strangers, there is also a huge portion of rape and molestation cases carried by close friends and family members. These are usually the cases which go unreported for fear of betraying a family member or public disgrace. Often these cases revolve around molestations, rape, prostitution, and other related abuses to women, children and men alike. The mentality of acceptance is too often ‘engraved’ in the mind of many individuals and is ultimately reflected on immigrants’ acceptance of such behaviors.
When immigrants come to America, because they are used to such experience of abuses, they often become numb to reporting any future abuses on themselves. As a result, they are discouraged to report them while accepting the behaviors are the norm. Many also fail or fear to report the abuses fearing deportation or removal from the United States.
In 1992, VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) was written by Senator Joe Biden. This ultimately became law of the land, and has been re-authorized all over the years to protect women, children and even men against violence and deportation. This law has protected millions of victims. But now this law is in jeopardy.
Since its enactment, it is the first time VAWA is facing so many difficulties to be re-authorized. While India is struggling to pass stricter laws, we in the United States, are struggling to renew a law which has already proven itself. VAWA has actually helped victims and protected millions. This reluctance, begs the question, whether we have turned the pendulum backward. Didn’t we learn any lesson from history?
The situation in India should make us reflect in America, that society despite having progressed, can always sink back into darkness where oppressed victims are again demonized and left unprotected. Should VAWA not be re-authorized and new stricter laws enacted in India to protect the rights of women the two biggest democracies will suffer severe blows.
In the light of this tragedy, our hearts and prayers go to the victims. We call on the government of India to do justice to the rape victims and we call on the U.S. government to protect the rights of all the VAWA victims.