#Opinion

Ballabgarh Murder: If Woman Is Killed For Resisting Harassment, How Will India Ensure Woman’s Safety?

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A blood-curdling incident has surfaced from Ballabgarh, Haryana in which a 21-year-old college student was shot dead in broad daylight by her harasser. Reportedly she was shot for reporting a case of harassment, refusing to convert her religion to marry the assailant and resisting his attempt to abduct her. Just two days ago a 16-year-old girl who was a student of class 12 in Uttar Pradesh was shot in the head by there men who barged inside her house. The reason that triggered the men to shoot her dead was the resistance that failed their attempts to harass her.

These incidents raise some very important questions in terms of women’s safety in India which is only degrading every year. Why a woman is being forced to pay a huge cost of losing her life for resisting and fighting back against her harasser? Why do some men feel entitled and fearless to kill a woman if she rejects their attempts to harass her or their marriage proposals? What does it tell about the law and justice in our country? If a woman cannot file a complaint against her harasser without any fear, will any measure to uphold women’s safety ever reach an epoch?

We live in a country where people, especially women, aren’t aware of their legal rights. Some aren’t educated enough to know and exercise the rights the Constitution provides to a woman. While others who are aware of the rights are reluctant to exercise because of the general lack of faith in the administration which is often eroded by power relations, red-tapism and corruption. But what also addresses this reluctance is the fear to approach the police especially in the cases of rape and harassment. Filing a complaint of rape or harassment brings stigma and shame to the family because of the rooted belief that a woman who is raped or harassed has damaged her and her family’s reputation.

Also Read: Ten Things To Know About The Shooting Of Ballabgarh College Student

Now even if a woman musters the courage and walks into the police station to report her harasser, her issue is often not taken seriously. Like in this case, the deceased and her brothers had reportedly filed a complaint against the harasser earlier. Probably, two complaints were filed if a report by a news handle is to be believed. One was filed three years ago by the deceased’s brother and the other was filed a day before the murder by the deceased herself. In the former complaint, the sister of the deceased alleged that the police did not take any action and settled the case through compromise. It is also being said that the family members took the complaint back due to the fear of social stigma.

At least if the police would have taken the second complaint seriously involving the same complainant and abuser and got into quick action, the brutal murder could have been avoided. After repeated incidents of the failure of state and administration in ensuring women’s safety and rising cases of crimes against women every year, can we expect the administration to be more vigilant? When our politicians feel free to make derogatory and sexist remarks against women, can we expect the country’s administration to get rid of its gender biases and take women seriously?

Moreover, it should also draw our attention to how boys are being brought up in our society. It has become sadly common for the male ego to get outraged on small instances forcing men to take extreme steps of assaulting and killing women. Months ago a shocking incident was reported in which a man beat a woman and tore her t-shirt because she glared at him when he spat near her. Why are men being brought up with toxic masculinity and fragile male ego that is so easily outraged? Why are they being fed with the ideas that women must cater to their demands and that it is a dent on their masculinity if a woman rejects or raises voice in front of them?

It is high time now that we change the way men and women are brought up in our society. We need to normalise women saying No and men respecting their decisions.

We need to strengthen our girls to raise voice against harassment fearlessly. We need to teach men to deal with rejection maturely and consider women as human with equal rights to have a choice. And lastly, our administration needs to be strengthened and made women-friendly. Of course, changing the state’s administration is in our hands if we make the right use of democracy. But for that women’s safety needs to be the primary concern, both for the citizens and the administration.

Views are the author’s own. Have an opinion and want to share it, send it to [email protected]

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