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A 2 days old baby girl is flushed down the toilet by her own parents. A man in UP hangs up his wife, beats her, makes a video of the same and sends to her parents for demanding dowry. A daughter is denied a share in her father's self acquired property. A girl is raped. Such incidents and even more gruesome crimes are committed against the women in our country but why is it that rapes get more attention as compared to other forms of crimes like female infanticide, acid attacks, sexual harassment/exploitation, dowry deaths, cheating, murder, wife battering, maltreatment at home, honour killings? Is it because'sex sells' even in crimes? The rape crisis is just one facet of the multitude of problems that reflect the gender discrimination scenario in our country which are seen right through'womb to tomb'. It's quite interesting to see how in the wake of brutal rapes and murders, the whole country takes a 'holier- than- thou' stand, passes quick judgements on the accused, without analysing their own conduct and contribution in crimes against women. Popular media is rife with news of rapes which appear to be the most rampant and high profile of all the crimes against women. This hype in the media compels us to believe that rapes are on a dramatic rise. However, studies have shown that rapes have, more or less, followed a flat trend while the most dramatic rise has been seen in number of cases registered under cruelty by husband and his relatives. Cruelty by husband and his relatives, domestic violence and dowry related crimes account for more than half of the crimes against women. However, these are not considered worthy of our attention since the very powerful media is busy covering certain brutal and violent incidents having political undertones. India is traditionally a male dominated society where masculinity is about men acting tough, freely exercising their privilege to lay down the rules in personal relationships and above all, controlling women by making them limited and obedient to perform different functions of daily life. There are many laws but 'brutalisation of women 'seems to be on the rise and becoming too broad. Thousands of girls are becoming victims of this evil on a daily basis, which reduces their self respect, dignity and status, thereby hindering the social, economical, political and cultural progress of our country. Male dominated societal norms, economic dependence, overall lower status of women further exacerbates these crimes . Politicians are only as good as the people. Beastial masculinity and inefficiency of judicial and political system is a daunting challenge. We as a society need to modify our mindset regarding women and get our act together to accept them as human beings with equal rights, deserving equal respect and status. There is an urgent need for stricter laws, faster convictions, larger representation of women in judiciary and law enforcement. However, these are also symptomatic measures. Our society needs deeper surgery and extensive treatment, starting at home and continuing through years of schooling and beyond, which is undoubtedly a generational effort which must be collectively made by HRD and law ministry. As the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, we should let these incidents be the trigger which forces our society to take this first step. Let's start now.
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