Civil society and state must join hands to battle sexual crimes against children

The latest horror story comes from Rohtak in Haryana, where a young girl was brutally gang-raped and murdered in the most savage manner.

Written by Kailash Satyarthi | Updated: May 19, 2017 9:15 am
rohtak gangrape, minor rape, sexual crimes, child sexual crimes, child sexual harassment, sexual harassment, child sex, delhi gangrape, delhi bus gangrape, nirbhaya gangrape, death penalty, supreme court, minor rape, minor sexual harassment, child pornography, NCRB record, indian express news, india news, indian express opinion The latest horror story comes from Rohtak in Haryana, where a young girl was brutally gang-raped and murdered in the most savage manner. (Representational Image)

There has been much debate over the recent decision of the Supreme Court confirming the death penalty for the rapists and killers in the December 2012 Delhi case. The gruesome crime had sparked nationwide outrage which led to the formulation of more stringent laws to deal with crimes against women and juveniles breaking the law.

But even as I follow this debate, I feel deeply anguished. The latest horror story comes from Rohtak in Haryana, where a young girl was brutally gang-raped and murdered in the most savage manner.

It seems there is no depth that sheer inhuman barbarity cannot plunge to. Consider the following incidents from 2017: A two-year-old girl was raped by her neighbour in Delhi and is in critical condition. Her parents had gone shopping and the girl was playing outside when the neighbour took her to his house. A five-year-old girl went missing in Bengaluru and her body was later discovered under the bed of a neighbour who was apparently helping the parents look for the child. A 10-year-old girl in Malda in Bengal was gang-raped inside a “club” and strangled to death. In a village in Aurangabad in Maharashtra, a 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and murdered.

These are just a handful of stories from across India. When the National Crime Records Bureau eventually collects, tabulates and releases the “statistics”, perhaps we will have some more debates on television channels and seminars. That is, perhaps, important and maybe even necessary. But this numbing sequence of savagery deserves more. Too many of our young girls are being exploited and the abuse of even one innocent child is an abuse of all humanity. We are at a stage where expressing outrage is just not enough.

So, what can we do? The rapists in the December 2012 case will be hanged. But it is clear as day to all of us struggling for child rights that the laws that promised deterrence don’t seem to be deterring barbaric rapists from targeting the young. It is also clear that television studio-based psychological analysis will not be of any help. No region or state of India seems immune to this growing menace. Some of the savages are illiterate; some are educated IT professionals. Many are neighbours, relatives and known faces.

The first step has to be the creation of a more alert and responsive police force. Many of us will recall the horrific assault on a girl child, “Gudiya”, some years ago. If the local police had responded in time, Gudiya could have been spared the torture inflicted on her. Sadly, in many cases, far from responding effectively, local policemen target the victims. One such story came to light recently when it was alleged that a 14-year-old rape victim in Kaithal district in Haryana was “interrogated” by male policemen and touched inappropriately by them. Thousands of similar cases are reported every year from across India.

Police reforms are urgently required and civil society must exert immense pressure on legislators and the bureaucracy to stop paying lip-service and initiate concrete action.

Equally important are reforms within the judiciary. While a few high-profile cases seem to get due attention, tens of thousands of similar cases face inexcusable delays, despite the promise of state governments to set up fast-track courts for rape victims. Some months before the December 2012 incident, another young girl in Delhi was abducted, gang-raped, mutilated and murdered. Despite the efforts of her parents, the Supreme Court, it seems, has not found the time to take up this case. If punishment is to act as a deterrent against such heinous crimes, then justice has to be delivered in a time-bound manner.

But beyond the police and the courts, the alarming rise in sexual assaults on young girls reveals a growing sickness within our society. There are no easy answers to these moral questions. But I am convinced that all of us in civil society need to urgently take up the challenge of sensitisation. From street theatre near slum clusters to awareness programmes in posh schools, all these tools need to be used aggressively and consistently. Our girls deserve at least this much dignity.

Just criticising is no longer enough.

We must act as family members, relatives, neighbours, friends, acquaintances and, most importantly, concerned citizens always keeping an eye on predators. Eternal vigilance is the price for not just liberty but also, the safety of our young girls.

(This article first appeared in the print edition under the headline ‘Outrage Isn’t Enough’)

The writer is a child rights activist and a Nobel Peace Laureate for 2014.

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  1. S
    Sudhir Kumar
    May 25, 2017 at 6:25 pm
    Expressing outrage or increasing punishment is really not enough ! We should go to the root of all these. Our at ude towards the fairer is never healthy. Something should be done to change it. Most important thing is a rapist is not made over night. A social psychological study should be done to find out the matters which make a member of our civilized educated society a rapist. In the most highlighted rape case of photo journalist in the industrial area of Mumbai the culprit was found in a blue film Cafe. And it seems there are dozens of illegal cafes running in that area. Should not we stop those mind poisoning business centres. Most of us enjoy MMS clips of rape scenes. The demand of those clips too is another reason. Liquors, drugs, idleness, of unemplo youths , lack of proper guidance for them may too be few reasons for those crimes. Our social scientists should find out the remedy of the disease. Mere hanging the patient Will not solve the old problem.
    Reply
    1. प्रकाश सुथार
      May 19, 2017 at 10:14 pm
      I request to BJP lead NDA govt. to have a hovitzer M-777 to shot down these type of peoples. Rapists and ualters should be hanged in front of artillery and then it should be started. If we implement this penalty, I say with 100 of my faith and it true that India'll never face these types of crime. ualy aulting and raps are done in a large number because there is not enough fear in those people. These peoples should be boycotted by our society. And I personally condemn those organisations, groups who are working for human rights and even try to save these rapists from hanging down, they are just fraud not else... Give your thoughts in reply...
      Reply
      1. A
        AMOL CHAURASIA
        May 19, 2017 at 7:44 pm
        Rape has become the play of words in our society, it's just like a joke whenever we open newspaper either in any form women are aulted or molested. People say 'chalta hai'. Police efforts are too much needed as a responsible and common citizen do. We live in that society today where people challenge laws every second either traffic or crime, just making a joke of our Cons ution. Durkheim talks about collective conscience which should first come from family then society. Make India what it deserves to be not what we desire to be, Perhaps our Cons ution makes us equal in name of law. So, respect it!!!
        Reply
        1. H
          Harsh
          May 19, 2017 at 5:59 pm
          We have done huge sensitization in case of Nirbhaya, but why we fail in minimizing such crime thereafter raise question over our true motive. Like a mad animal we were happy in kil the culprit and forget to sensitize the people about the cir -stances that led to such crime and preventive measures that society has to take to reduce such crimes. We are expert in the marketing of lies and false and we have made a victim of our hypocrite instinct instead of treating it as common natural phenomena. Thus, there is a need to think about what type of healthy and legal recreation we can provide to such a poor and huge young population that can minimize such crime instead of sensitizing people to fulfill our vested interest.
          Reply
          1. V
            Vasu
            May 19, 2017 at 4:28 pm
            Actually here both sides are guilty.We vote and elect our leaders who after coming to power enjoys the luxury of it forgetting about people.We common people think it's none of our business if something happens to any child that does not belong to any of our known circle.Some of us just simply don't care about any social issue unless they are subjected to some kind of trouble.It's only a handful people who want to fight for any injustice.While some of them may be silenced by govt tools others may get carried away by too much legal responsibilities which again does not work.So the local authorities along with the police should take strict action against whoever it is.Again if the culprits belong to rich or famous families,no action is being taken or a high cl lawyer is hired who will eventually grant them bail after accepting a huge fees such a country we are all hopeless.Everyday as Satyarthi ji mentions,thousands of cases happen while only a few registered.
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            1. U
              Urmila Duhan
              May 19, 2017 at 2:57 pm
              It is a shame that the Rohtak incidence slowly seems to be getting less and less attention as time passes. It sends a wrong message to society in which the crime happened. It encourages boys/men to indulge in crime against women. No politician is talking about it anymore in the press. Women must be more vigilant towards protecting and educating their young daughters from the unsafe environment. Young women must take it upon themselves to learn self defence strategies. It seems there are no active civil societies in Haryana to take up the matter. I have not heard a single statement made by women minister in Haryana, Kiran Choudhary, or Sheila or others for that matter.
              Reply
              1. V
                Vasu
                May 19, 2017 at 4:34 pm
                U r talking about ministers?The CM of the state is a highly misogynist person and some of his ministers too.Local population seems to be not in 21st century as they behave with women.Time has changed and women have to take up their own self defense strategies.No govt or law makers would do anything.They are there only to lead a lavish life style at tax payers' money.Almost every state has the same condition.Very unfortunate indeed.
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              2. B
                Bharat
                May 19, 2017 at 11:48 am
                ual crimes committed by the church have to be looked into. All children under orphanage care be it a religious organisation or a NGO should be allowed to work under a standard specified which includes the quality of the day workers including the govt run orphanages. First govt should run these houses in all districts removing the need for NGO and paper tigers like Satyarthi. Govt has to implement these rules which are already in place .... The article talks about distributed incidents whereas it speaks nothing of the tremendous work done by people like Lakshmananda Saraswati for the tribal girls in khandamal. Sathyarthy is not the only torch bearer for this project .... There are many a oasis in the heartland he fails to mention them because they are Hindu .. Many social workers have and are rescuing girls from being auctioned off. Sathyarthy please highlight the case of brothels run by goondas where girls are abused and killed. Young Islamic girls at 8 years are married off to men.
                Reply
                1. C
                  CClemesnt
                  May 19, 2017 at 2:11 pm
                  You make a fine specimen for a Hindu. Vile and filthy to the core. India is a problem because of people like you. A sad reflection of your upbringing.
                  Reply
                  1. D
                    dhruv
                    May 19, 2017 at 7:17 pm
                    Satyarthi a paper tiger? ?? Google him, b.a.s.t.a.r.d. then again you have the audacity to name yourself Bharat? people like you will destroy India.
                    Reply
                  2. S
                    S
                    May 19, 2017 at 1:54 am
                    There is only ONE way for [a] India to be safe for women, [b] liberating Indian women for India to emerge as a economic giant, [c] Indian people to do the right thing. That way is for the PUBLIC to catch these pieces of filth and then lynch them in public for advertising their manliness by gang-raping and brutally destroying a much less physically stronger human being. THAT is the ONLY way these dastardly acts will come to an end. The Indian government, the judiciary and the police are spineless. None of these will help the women in India. Trial? What trial? This is democracy at its lowest!!! Amnesty International and a lot of other bodies will cry foul. But has this ever happened to anyone that cry foul? Indian youth -- Wake up, and shed your dependency on the authorities who, in my opinion, should all wear sarees and stay in the kitchen - including the Prime Minister. Show your character and burn these pieces of filth publicly. THAT is the best you can do for your country...
                    Reply
                    1. M
                      Mohammad Dar
                      May 19, 2017 at 5:58 am
                      Sure, and destroy hind crime of hinduism immorality, fabricated by hindus child ra pist of hindu dark ages, and pra as hindu immoram Sanatans, man gods of hinduism ignorant s, such as bo y abu ser Pluto and his disciples in hinduism immorality, known a Philosophers, otherwise known a pot head Brahmans.
                      Reply
                      1. P
                        peter golf
                        May 19, 2017 at 10:16 am
                        mussalla.... the w world suffers because of this heinous and degraded of a religion.....terrorism, jihad kil people all over the world.....mus 's should be gutted at once
                        1. B
                          Bharat
                          May 19, 2017 at 11:58 am
                          An Islamic girl has her genitals mutilated at a very young age. Then she is married off at 8 yrs when she achieves pubetry. Then as per shariah she is married in a open m marriage ceremony with 40 year old man to celebrate the marriage of prophet with Aisha. First prophet came up with a rule to marry a young girl to suit his desire. And this age old custom of child marriage has been banned in India and social Hindu workers were allowed to change the rules of Hinduism to make it more human. However Islamic paedophile Mohd worshippers still continue this dark tradition. After the marriage the child is r@ped and dies on the first night. No case on the man. If she survives then she has to bear 20 kids by the time she is 30. And if she survives the ordeal then her husband aka will pronounce talaq in a fit of rage ... So she has to support her children and re enter her husband's house only after a halala mArriage with another man. Rule by mohd who lusted for his daughter in law.
                          1. B
                            Bharat
                            May 19, 2017 at 12:10 pm
                            Islamic women living in the caliphate live under hijab and everything under the hijab is .... A) Jehadi bride who can be used by a new man everyday on the battlefront. She gets divorced everyday and marries everyday like a production shop floor producing jehadis B) A woman approaching the shariah court for justice for r@pe on her gets only 1/2 point score while the man gets 1 point score ... So she always looses and the penalty for that is stone to death. She is dug in the earth till her shoulders and all men are to stone her to death. So Islam is still practicing this even today ... We see these men from dark ages migrating to civilised societiez in Europe as refugees setting up their shariah zones ... grooming western girls and abusing their women ... R@pes in Europe 99 are committed by these Muslims only ... Who is living in the dark ... Even is Kashmir the jehadis take shelter in the houses of locals and use their women .... Islamic women are even today living like Jehadi brides
                            1. B
                              Bharat
                              May 19, 2017 at 12:22 pm
                              Muslims are not clear about their own religion and have somany sects like Abmadiah , Sufi , Shia , Sunni. In this there is a old fi sect which is rising itself as ISIS and is raising the jehad flag. Unfortunately they have managed to kill more Muslims than other communities .... Muslims solve their problems with violence only and that explains the internet Shia Sunni strife .... Even Palestine is divided and they kill each other ... Saudis are r@ping the Syrian women in their refugee camps and that's the reason why syrians are escaping to Europe .... Muslims prey on their own women and children .... There are no labour laws in Saudi and Dubai only dead bodies silently buried under the sand or the buildings .... No laws to protect women ... Women can't drive cars in fi nations like Saudi .... No Islamic woman leader in the world that has made an impact ...
                            2. V
                              Vasu
                              May 19, 2017 at 4:36 pm
                              Well said :-)
                              Reply
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