The day after International Women`s Day, I got up and opened the Hindustan Times newspaper thinking it will be filled with clippings of Women`s day celebration. What greeting me was the news of the point blank shooting of the Delhi University Student Radhika Tanwar. Alongside this news was the news from Mumbai where a young mother jumped to death, after throwing her two small children from nineteenth floor of their flat. On the same page was the news about the killing of a senior citizen, a mother of a leading lawyer in Delhi. The other news was the dowry death of a 31 year old female. I was already depressed over the pressures to settle the cases with my husband who wanted me to abort my daughters. I needed something to cheer me up, not this.
I kept aside the newspaper in despair and picked up Times of India. The first page carried a report about the fact that on an average one woman is molested everyday in Delhi. The same news article informed how 25% of the 500 murders in Delhi are women. In addition in the year 2010, 507 women were raped in capital while 601 were molested.
I was left wondering, if either of these women had complaint before being killed, could these deaths been averted. If Radhika had gone to police, what would have happened? At the very onset, it would have been a mammoth task getting a complaint lodged. Even if a complaint was lodged, she would have been counseled to withdraw her complaint, questions would have been raised regarding her character, or ultimately she would have been sent to mediation to settle the case with her tormentor.
A worst fate would be awaiting the other two women who died because of matrimonial problems. Here also at every stage right from the first complaint to the police to every Judge would counsel her to stay with her abusive husband or settle down the case. That would again mean she is forced to withdraw her complaints of abuse and take a mutual divorce. Either way it is the woman who would have been the sufferer. She would have been left not only high and dry, with additional expenses of the litigation, with the social stigma of being a divorcee. This would have been because of the focus of the judiciary to try to arrive at a settlement in every matrimonial case, regardless of the facts of the case. Many people including those in the authorities would blame her for misusing the laws. God forbid if children are involved, she would have risk losing her children to the abusive husband in the custody battle.
Despite the fact that the laws are there, are they available to the women. If yes they were perhaps women would have been safer in our country. Perhaps it would not have been a crime being a woman and crime against woman would have come down.