Siddharth Chatterjee: A 3-Tiered Strategy to Stop Violence Against India’s Women and Girls
First, it is important to increase reporting of rape and assault. Across the world, rape is a generally underreported crime; this is all the more true in India. It is essential that women and children be educated on their rights on reporting of a violent act against them through an active social media campaign. Prosecution and strict legal action are likely to provide an important deterrent.
Second, it is absolutely vital that law enforcers are trained to react swiftly and with sensitivity to women and children who have been harassed, assaulted or raped. Sensitivity training and knowledge of the rights of women and children are another vital need and must be made mandatory for all law enforcement agencies.
Third, punishments need to be exemplary and widely covered in the media. There has to be a “shock and awe” campaign of zero tolerance of sex offenders and those who kill and violate women and children. Fast track courts should be established to ensure that the law is surgical and unrelenting in pursuing and ensuring that such offenders face the full force of justice, regardless of their rank and station.
Finally, a nationwide campaign is needed to reignite India’s core values and traditions that respect and nurture women and children. This can only be borne out of consensus in society. Awareness amongst men of the scope of this issue is critical. Men who turn a blind eye to such brutal acts in their own neighbourhoods, communities and families are just as culpable as those that perpetrate these acts. Action from courts and police will not suffice if the community remains defiantly opposed to change.
Siddharth Chatterjee is Chief Diplomat and Head of Strategic Partnerships & International Relations at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The above is an excerpt from his article “Are Women Not Part of Our Being?” He tweets at @sidchat1. For more on him and his other writings click here.