No means no, in Paris or Delhi
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The Delhi gangrape of a young 23-year-old would-be physiotherapist in a moving bus by men high on booze, out on a "joyride", changed that impotency into boiling outrage. Now, the victim is no more. She slipped away, unaware that she has become a symbol for more stringent legislation, faster justice and more adequate protection of women.
Now is not the time for the blamegame and petty politicking; nor is it a time for a partisan approach or facetious remarks by our politicians or their kin. Now is the time for India to honour this daughter by ensuring the guilty are punished in record time and by adopting immediate concrete measures to protect women and make India a safer place for them. These should include pedestrian-friendly cities through better street lighting and usable footpaths, stricter controls for buses, taxis and autos, including police verification of the drivers, increased police presence, greater police accountability, more women police. But more than systemic changes, what is required are attitudinal changes towards women and the inculcation of a civic sense through concerted, targeted print and audio-visual media campaigns for the public at large and gender-sensitisation training/ re-training programmes for teachers as well as police personnel. And if we would transform medieval, misogynistic attitudes and deep-seated prejudices into a more enlightened approach towards women, we can hardly do it by baying for the rapists' blood or by pushing for medieval or inhumane forms of punishment.
Let the Delhi rape victim's death serve as a defining moment for women's rights. Then, she would not have died in vain. If India can send missiles into space and stake its claim as a nuclear power, surely, it can provide a safe public space for its women?
Kapoor-Sharma is a freelance interpreter and writer based in Paris
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