“The day, a woman can walk freely on the roads at night, that day we can say that India has achieved Independence.”
The issue of women safety has left the nation concerned since long, posing a blot on the nation. Crimes against women have been carried out in the society since its inception. Women, since time immemorial, have been subjected to violence, cruelty, and disgrace suggesting that they are and meant to be submissive to men, as second-class citizens.
It would certainly not be amiss to assert that women are the most susceptible, endangered, and jeopardized entity on Earth. Safety is certainly one of the most significant issues which comes into picture when we look at India as a developing nation. With the present perspective, when India strives to become a developed nation it would be hard to conclude even that India is a developing nation. A nation is developing only when all the individuals of the nation are safe, secure, healthy, and prosperous.
Crimes against Women
Women in our nation are never safe: be it home, workplace, roads, shopping malls, public transports and the like. Despite the existence of a number of special legislations in India for providing protection to women, the number of crimes against women has constantly increased, acting as an impediment in the growth of women and displaying the inefficiency of laws in our nation. There are various laws like Dowry Prohibition Act 1961, Domestic Violence Act 2005, Immoral Traffic Prevention Act  alongside the provisions of IPC like Section 354, 372, 375, 509 etc, but they have proved to be ineffective till date.
India has reported 3,38,954 Crimes against Women in 2016 which include Rape, Sexual Harassment, Dowry Deaths, Molestation, Cruelty by Husband and Relatives, Kidnapping, Abduction and Immoral Trafficking which is a 106 percent rise in the number from 2006. Moreover, in 2016 the conviction rate of the crime is merely 19 percent and whereas the pendency percentage stands at 90 percent which is pitiful and disgraceful. It is therefore deduced that a crime against women is reported every 1.5 minute in India. These statistics pose a big question on us as to the safety of women in our nation. Undoubtedly, steps are being taken every other day to ensure such safety and provide a safe future for every women of the nation; but these crimes and violence leads us to the conclusion that all this goes in vain.
Reforms and Measures
“Charity begins at home.”
It all starts from home in the first place. Every individual must be educated about gender sensitisation and gender education so that they learn to respect the rights of women. It is when a person does not respect women’s rights, a crime is bound to take place. It is thus undeniable that education is the key to respect one’s rights.
Instead of legislating more laws the focus rather shall be upon more implementation of such laws. Implementation is the key as without implementation every law falls short of its achievable target and thus the motive behind the enactment of the law fails. With implementation, the approach of the authorities towards the female victims shall also be sensitive, the utter contrary of which was the case in the recent Bhopal rape case.
All the roads and streets in India should have a proper installation of CCTV cameras, not only installation but accurate scrutiny. These CCTVs will ensure to regulate the cases of violence against women as well as all other crimes, instilling a fear of being caught in the mind of the prospective criminal. Many countries around the world have these cameras all across the roads and they serve as a deterrent factor against crimes.
To ensure one’s safety, one needs to stand up. Women themselves need to take a stand when it comes to their safety. None will stand up for other’s even if they do that would be short-lived without serving any concrete purpose. That is why it is indispensable that women stand up for their own right whenever it comes to their safety and protection, not taking it for granted as if violence on them is customary and is bound to take place.
If India needs to really develop in all aspects and in every sense, it needs to protect its women. If half the population does not feel safe in a nation, it is nothing but a big failure on the part of the society.
Being a patriarchal society India faces a huge biasness against women and consider them to be an object of interest, which results in drastic and horrifying crimes against them. Despite the various laws present to tackle the issue, a prejudiced mindset and poor implementation turn out to be obstacles in receiving Justice. This mentality needs to be changed, either by will or by conscience. It needs to be understood that like men, women are also a living entity and are entitled to equal rights and opportunities akin to men. Faithful implementation of the laws is of the essence under the rule of law for Good Governance. After all, we are one of the largest democracies which work with the objective of ‘OF THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE’, and women too are a subset of People.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
She is pursuing BA LLB from Gujarat Law Society, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad. Being a motivational speaker, she takes counselling sessions for students and turns up to public elocution, debates and moots. Academically avid and with an innate interest in writing, she is a member of the reputed SIAC and has presented and published various Research Papers in Reputed Journals, both National and International.