Alerting Young Girls

Alerting Young Girls

The recent episode of the rape and murder of a young BPO employee in Bangalore is just one of the many that has brought to the fore the growing incidence of sexual crimes against young women. The trauma of victims of crimes such as molestation, torture and rape is not only severe but indelible too. A major contributing factor in preventing such crimes is the refusal of prospective victims (as also their parents and teachers) to believe that they are susceptible. Low awareness and a hesitation to report are other factors that play a key role in encouraging such crimes.

In wake of the increasing abuse and exploitation of women, especially adolescent girls, the Thane Women’s Guild (TWG), organised a programme titled Caution Against Rape and Exploitation (CARE) for teenage girls of Thane. On Saturday, December 17, 2005, more than 150 girls from 10 city-based schools participated in an interactive session and received vital insights in preventing such crimes against them. The audience also included many principals, teachers, parents and even social workers. The programme was organised in association with the Rotary Club of Thane and with significant help from Nirmal Kumar Deshmukh, the Chief Executive Officer of Thane District Zilla Parishad.

Held at Sahyog Mandir, Ghantali, the highlight of the programme was the address by Archana Tyagi, the District Superintendent of Police, Thane Rural. Being a senior woman police officer, the audience found Tyagi’s words both empathetic and sensible. Her candid discussion on the sensitive topic encouraged several young girls in the audience to ask pertinent questions. She was pleased with the programme because she admits that the police force rarely, if ever, gets an opportunity to interact with people directly regarding such issues. Talking to the girls, she emphasised the importance of speaking out about such crimes. Her address was filled with revealing statistics. For instance few of us know that most rapes and molestation cases occur between 2 pm and 9 pm. Another rather interesting myth that Tyagi busted was that poverty is not linked to crime – even well off individuals commit such crimes. When one girl brought up the case of constable Sunil More, Tyagi was quick to point out that More was one bad apple and does not reflect the make-up of the entire 12,000-strong Mumbai police force. In fact she underlined the importance of believing in law and order and reporting such cases to help the system book the criminals.

Preeti Patkar, the executive secretary of PRERNA, an NGO for women in distress was the other speaker of the evening. Patkar, who handled the touchy issue delicately, explained the idea of rape and molestation and how to minimise the chances of becoming a victim. In the unfortunate event that any of them gets being victimised, she urged that such victims should, under no circumstances, hide the incident or suppress their feelings. They should share it with their parents, teachers, friends or whoever they feel close with. She warned them the young girls are innocent and often suffer silently, especially if the victimiser happens to be an older relative who cajoles them into believing that ‘this is normal’ and that they should not reveal it to anybody. She said the victims should never feel guilty as they are not at fault. Instead they should report the matter to the police. She even guided them on how they should approach the police, telling them that they should insist on interacting with a lady constable at all times.

While such programmes create the much-needed awareness in the society to fight against abuse, it is the moral obligation on the part of each and every one of us to be more sensitive to such problems and train young girls and boys into becoming more sensible and alert.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *