Law Enforcement Fails Women in India

.   .   .   .   a word from the office of the Managing Trustee

Women in India have been let down by the very institutions that should protect them against crimes like domestic violence, rape and a million other innovative avenues for abuse and violation. New Delhi the capital of India carries the flag of being the rape capital of the world – is some rare distinction.

Society has expressed its outrage, the sundry media houses and their reporting teams have done their duty of shifting their spotlight to such crimes, law-enforcement institutions have bent over backwards in expressing that they are not to be held responsible for anything and have through simply turning the blind eye to all violations, served to uphold the cause of the violators and by ensuring that the complainant is so demoralized that they just move away and go underground.

I quote from the Indian Express of September 19, 2018 – it is important to note the language of the report which, after over 30 days of the incident still documents the incident as ‘allegedly’:

“A 16-year old girl was allegedly gang-raped by four boys, all fellow students at a reputed boarding school in Dehradun.” “The incident was kept under wraps for over a month by school authorities who threatened to expel the victim if she spoke about it to even her own family including her younger sister who is a student in the same school.”

When will the government and State machinery wake up? What more needs to happen before the police react to crimes against women promptly? When will we censure the role of schools, colleges and other educational institutions that renegade on their responsibilities?

Can we credit the authorities on any count? I do not see even a small ray of hope. Of what use are statutes devoid of any political or administrative will and or, resources for implementation at the ground level. While legal reforms are necessary, especially to speed up and assure prosecution of offenders but nothing is being done to change the attitude of Indian men towards women duly established and protected by a patriarchal society more interested in protecting its own feudal Rights and status at the cost of their own women and the Rights of women worldwide.

The police is merely a copy of society and is committed to support this Feudal society and individual fiefdom. The police are duly compensated by the perpetrators of violence in society by making them a party to organised crime.

The patriarchal, misogynistic feudal to an extreme in these modern times, invariably condones violent acts like rape. All this brings us to the most important and yet merely an under-current that continues to perpetrate violence in society is the question of class. Law favours the wealthy because this association contributes vastly to the personal coffers of the enforcement officials.

A woman, confronting a wall of opposition, manages to file a complaint of rape or harassment, the law enforcement machinery bends over backward, often displaying a unique eagerness to protect the accused and to disbelieve the victim. The victims suffer most when they are held responsible for the rape. This continues with active political support when prominent political leaders speak in derogatory terms about the dress/life-styles of girls today.


Are There any Easy Solutions?

No, lasting solutions demand awareness building and Behaviour Change programmes. Recruiting women in the police force will change nothing because any military force will promote the same thoughtless, misconceived, misplaced action.

The police force and the law enforcement agencies require a far better educated force that does not need brute force to uphold the law. Somewhere, a misconception seems to dominate society – brute force is the cure for all ills and also serves to uphold the might of a decadent feudal/patriarchal society.

Girls in India are oppressed to an extreme where, even after being raped, girls prefer to commit suicide rather than seek justice. India is unlikely to achieve its desired international status as envisaged by Tagore and Vivekananda till such time as girls achieve inclusion, equality, dignity and safety.

Renu Singh
Managing Trustee

Mainstream Women & Children NOW

Priority Issues for Girls Health & Property Rights of Women