Today is a red letter day for women all over the world. A day to stop and ponder about the treatment of women in their own country. How do they feel as women? Do they feel safe and protected, valued and worthy, or vulnerable, exploited and mistreated?
On one hand, I feel tremendous joy and pride in being a woman in England. I know that whatever happens to me, the police will be broadly sympathetic, I am treated the same as my male counterpart, and I will earn almost as much as he does. I can drive, hold down a job and compete in the world of work with a man. I do not have to feel like a second or third class citizen, despite the pockets of continuing inequality.
But most important of all, I feel secure in a man’s world. I know that I can travel on a bus or train and be perfectly safe because my life matters as much as a man’s. I am unlikely to be raped on a public transport not just because of our many CCTVS, but also because the British people wouldn’t just look on and do nothing about it. They would feel a sense of responsibility too, which makes me feel even more secure. And that is the most important thing about living in the United Kingdom as a woman. I am treated with value and worth. Unlike India.
A Shameful Act
Today India needs to hang its head in utter shame about how it treats its women, like possessions and chattels. Its history of brutality towards women, of killing female babies in preference to male ones, of constantly murdering women through a preservation of ‘honour’ and of making decisions for women, have ended up with giving it the reputation of being the worst place for women to live in. When I first read how low they came in the world for the safety and security if women, I found it hard to believe.
But the truly horrific and disgusting rape of a woman two weeks ago on a PUBLIC bus by six men who beat her with an iron rod and shoved the iron rod in her body, destroying her intestines as well, was barbaric beyond comprehension. When I heard she had died today, I just cried uncontrollably without knowing why. I did not know her, I don't even know her name, but perhaps my grief was disconsolate because, but for an accident of birth, I could have been a woman in India too.
Today after being in a critical condition, having had a heart attack from her injuries and four major operations to save her life, she mercifully died in a Singapore hospital. It got me thinking what kind of men would do that to a woman. Would they like the same done to their mother, sister, daughter? What kind of country stands by for ages and watches women being treated in such awful, uncaring, disrespectful and callous ways, yet see nothing wrong with it. Worst of all, not having done much about it?
Well, the good news is that this woman won’t have died in vain. Her death has woken a sleeping giant, as noted by the demonstrations and the rush by the government to introduce policies to protect women more. But all those will take time to come into being. For now, I will have to grudgingly admit that, though I don't normally believe everything I read, India has shown us the proof that it IS the worst place for a woman. not a place I would wish to live in a hurry.
Thank goodness for the UK, and other countries like it.
Mail Online: Six accused of murder