Updated: Apr 24, 2018
A rare commodity should logically be considered more valuable, something to be treasured, but as the sex ratio steadily falls and the number of men in India exceeds that of women by around 40 million (it was 37 million according to the last census), the value of a woman’s dignity and life seems to be decreasing.
The recent spate of rapes, especially those of girl children, reveals a viciousness which is shocking even though such incidents are not uncommon. The increase in numbers could be because of increased reporting but the ferocity and frequency suggests deeper reasons. Well meaning and needed as the death penalty for the rape of children under the age of 12 years is — the government approved an executive order to the effect Sunday it is unlikely to entirely address the issue.
In large parts of India, there are severe restrictions on normal interactions between the sexes; an ingrained belief in the worthlessness of women; and the easy availability of cheap pornography on mobile phones, conveying a distorted notion of male-female relationships.
The fact that are fewer women than men, puts all women at greater risk of sexual violence and trafficking. Studies show that across India, especially in states with a skewed sex ration, women are at greater risk of sexual and other forms of violence from an increasingly frustrated cohort of men that finds it difficult to interact with women normally, even find wives.
The increase in women’s education and their ability to access the job market has also left them open to violence in a patriarchal society, which views this independence as threatening. This explains why many men, including those in the infamous Delhi gang rape, justify their brutality as owing to the woman being provocatively dressed or out at a time when she should not have been. Assertions of independence by women are invariably suppressed through violence, sexual or otherwise.