As on June 20, 2013, New Delhi alone has recorded 860 cases of rape. (Note: Those are only the documented cases.)
That is a little over twice the incidence of the first six months of last year. And this doubling of the rate of rape comes against the backdrop of the horrific gang-rape of late December; the enormous public outcry and protests triggered by that incident; the sweeping recommendations of an inquiry committee expressly set up to explore how to reduce the incidence of rape; and the oft-expressed intent of both police and polity to make the world — or at least, Delhi — safe for women.
Guess what? Nothing has changed — unless you call ‘getting worse’ change. Here is the excellent Nisha Susan (@chasingiamb) on what it feels like to be a woman, what it feels like to know that rape is not a question of ‘whether’ but only ‘when’:
That moment sneaks up on you. The moment passes and you go back to unconsciously arranging your life around avoiding this one crime. Every time you hear footsteps behind you, every time you open your front door, every time you walk through a basement parking lot, every time you turn into a dark street, you wonder – Is this the one? Is this how it’s going to happen? As comedian Ever Mainard says, “The problem is that every woman has that one moment when you think, here’s my rape! This is it. OK, 11:47 pm, how old am I? 25? All right, here’s my rape! It’s like we wait for it, like, what took you so long?”
For some of us – for at least 24,923 documented Indian women in 2012 alone – there has come that other unfortunate, jolting moment when you have been raped.
Three out of four times, you are likely to have been raped by someone familiar, someone familial: your uncle comes to drop off a tiffin box and stays to chase you round the house, breaking everything you try to hide behind, pulling the landline wire out of the wall. Your brother-in-law tries to rape you when you are five months pregnant. Your former husband decides that divorce isn’t quite enough. Thesarpanch of your village. Your nephew. Your brother’s friend. Your brother. Your father.
Here is your rape. It has come. And here comes that epiphany. The realization that you have been warned about this moment your whole life but still don’t know what you are supposed to do afterwards.
So what are you supposed to do? What can you do? What must you do?
In a timeless piece designed for Everywoman, Nisha Susan provides answers. Read — and do circulate, because this really, really, needs to be part of every woman’s knowledge-base.
Which brings me to the announcement promised in the parenthesis. Starting today, the team of Nisha Susan and Gaurav Jain will on behalf of Yahoo India commission, edit, illustrate and publish one medium-to-longform article, on a topic of contemporary interest, at the rate of one on each of the five working days of the week.
Got ideas, tips, suggestions, comments? Contact:
Nisha Susan: @chasingiamb
Gaurav Jain: @mau_mauing