It hurts to say this but India is regressing. We need to accept that fact. 

Many were so outraged when the details of the New Delhi gang-rape case first came to light that they did something not even the most wizened politicians could anticipate - they came out onto the streets in overwhelming numbers, demanding measures be taken to keep them safe. They were given assurances and promises and finally pacified after a tense week of tears and water cannons.

Sadly, we are still failing you. In the months since that watershed moment, rather than deter the more disgusting elements of our society, the incident of New Delhi seemed to teach them a new trick to try - "gang-rape." Suddenly, every day - every cursed day - the news channels or online media had another story of a gang-rape occurring with no conclusion to the story; no quick action of the police, no speedy trials, no worthy justice for the victim. Instead of showing we could protect you, we gave these guys a new method to violate you.

While discussing this with fellow doctors, I was presented with an alternative view by a colleague which was interesting and quite popular too - what if gang-rapes were always common and it is now just a case of the media finally showcasing it after the Delhi incident? I cannot disagree with that view either. But the sad part is that it is true - there are so many buried cases of molestations and rapes prior to this, are there not? 

It has been a few summers since that day. As was common with most medical colleges in the city, foreign students regularly visited our Indian hospitals and usually did a 1-2 month internship before returning back . From what I recall, she was a German student in her early twenties who was enamoured by the prospect of getting to see so many diseases here that they had only read about in textbooks abroad. And the doctors here were more than willing to assist - answering all her questions diligently, showcasing the diseases present and variations in management and allowing her to assist in operative procedures. They took a lot of pains to make her feel at ease, answering every question from the science behind malaria management to the makings of a samosa. They arranged for cars to drive her around and see the nearby tourism spots including temples and beaches, eateries and handicraft shops. They were the wonderful hosts that India usually is to awe-struck foreigners.


And then one night, a young doctor showcased another familiar side of India - he entered her room on some pretext raped her. She was alone and tried to fend herself but was not successful. She was staying across the road from the hospital she was doing her internship from. After the doctor had fleed from the site, the girl in a state of undress ran across the road into the campus, past the bewildered watchmen and into the casualty. In the early hours of the morning, heads of departments drove furiously back to the hospital to tend to her and a search began for the doctor. 

Do you want to know the end of this story? Sadly, so do I. As is frequently the case, such incidents will be hushed up 'for the greater good'. That girl came as a guest to our country and we raped her and sent her off. I am sure that doctor was caught and his degree canceled but I am not sure of any more action being taken since that would result in 'unwanted publicity'. 

Instead of fighting to at least help the victims, we find ways to blame her in such imbecilic ways to justify our own lust. The Guwahati molestation of 2012 by a mob of forty still rankles in my mind for the sheer apathy shown by the public to save her, citing their own safety. And that is why, apps like the Suraksha app, are a necessity in today's India.

The Suraksha app is an Android Application that, at the tap of a single button on your mobile, sends your message requesting help to 5 pre-chosen members from your contact list. My personal advice would be to let them know that they have been added to your list beforehand as well. The plus point is that even with the GPS off, the app still sends your location along with the distress message. If you are in a position to do so, you can also type in any additional information (car description, number plate) before sending the message.  

In today's India where work-hours extend well beyond twilight and even midnight, I personally ask all those I care about to have the app in their mobile, irrespective of gender. I would feel more comfortable knowing that they have an option to reach out to their loved ones for help at the touch of a single button when they are in danger than have to depend on the kindness of random strangers or hoping that calling a rapist 'bhaiya' will stop him.

It is a tough world we have created for our women. I apologise for that and wish I could do more. But I can only hope that every article on the blogosphere for social awareness can stir the need to be more pro-active for your own safety. There are many more steps to go, I know, but having an app that can send an SOS to people who care for you and would come to help you is a genuine first step. I certainly wish that the German doctor had such an app like Smart Suraksha with her back then. She trusted us and we failed her. Having scarred her for life, we let her go without standing up for her. How many more women have we failed?

Let's try to be there for women in the future at least and make it a better India for them to live in. 

  
I am participating in the Seeking Smart Suraksha contest at BlogAdda.com in association with Smart Suraksha App.


30 Comments

Sumana said…
Well written..and Good app...
:-) I hope this app helps women in dire situations.
i NumeroUnity said…
well written

www.numerounity.com
Satya said…
Rape and molestation happens everyday... In every corner of our country...
So well expressed..
Wondering when all this would come to an end..
wanderlust said…
You have a point in that such cases are getting more attention these days. The positive side is more people are getting aware and is willing to stand up and fight back.
More importantly, girls like the Mumbai journalist gives hope to others in spreading the message that this is not the end of their life.
The sad part is, in spite of all this, such cases continue to increase. And if you have noticed, in all the cases that have been highlighted, the culprits were from the so called lower strata of the society. I really wonder if these would have come to light if the rapists were sons of politically or socially connected people :(
maithili said…
That was why I was so intent on 2012 happening :( In a way it ended the universe, it ended the hopes and dreams of a girl :(
Nischala said…
Well written.. Nischala
Karanth S R said…
Wish to have an app soon for changing the bad mind set of our people, which can trigger more tolerance, peace, understanding and love-care-respect for others....
jaish_vats said…
After all these incidents India is now one of the most unsafe places to visit in the eyes of other countries esp for women or families. Sad !
Alka Gurha said…
How shocking. Imagine being raped by your doctor whom you trust!
As you say we have a long way to go.
Michelle Liew said…
Technology certainly can play a part in keeping us safe! Thanks for sharing. I remember how the victim was sent here to Singapore...we were as devastated as the people of India. I hope that more measures can be taken to keep our women safe.
Anonymous said…
Sorry to know about the german girl who came to India with expectations. I'm sure she's gone back with a sour opinion about our country. It's becoming so common to hear about rape cases day after day. Thanks for sharing info about the app which is a must for every Indian woman.
Anonymous said…
My sister installed a similar app in her phone. I don't know if it was this one or some other.
It made me sad that she had to do something like that, that we have to live in this constant fear.
I wonder what the parents of the alleged rapists think... at what point did they go wrong? Your example illustrates that this isn't just something that affects one part of society; this utterly inexcusable behaviour is everywhere, in movies, on the television, and in educational institutions.

I think people need to educate their children on how to behave towards others.
In India, apps like this are now as much a necessity as a mobile, I fear.
It is never going to end... if it had to reduce, it should have after the public outcry of December...
So true.. so many cases still get pushed under the mat, just by influence and other idiotic factors.. how sad is that really?
I feel we lost that one badly... we just gave her a name (nirbhaya) and then failed her.. forget the three sentenced, how do u say "rarest of rare" for them and then allow the worst offender who tore her intestines apart to walk free in 2015/2016? Where is this justice? Set an example there... show that being a minor is not an excuse.
Thank you Nischala
I think thats called a machine gun :D aim it at them and shoot one or two.. rest will show "tolerance, understanding and love" :)
It really is very unsafe today. We are just witnessing the tip of an iceberg here.. how many cases of molestation go unreported...
I know Alka... it is s shameful as it gets.
Michelle, a year has gone by since then. I fear not much has changed in people's mindsets... defnitely not for the better. Thats why apps like this become more essential.
Thats the thing... how many more cases like this occur every day where the victim just cant carry on. How many more have we failed? Is there really even a logical guess on that number?
Its safer... just think of it that way. You and I both know what India is becoming..
Anand, it definitely isnt about just one layer of society... it encompasses all of them... I fear at times, it just requires an opportunity .. which begs the question: how animalistic are our base tendencies in the end
Karanth S R said…
No Roshan, we can't call it animalistic... animals have better control over their behavior than us "HUMANS" we have to say very humanistic, as only we can harm others so inhumanly
true... so true. I keep making that mistake. The fact is animals are much more kinder than us in every sense...