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  • Writer's pictureMuskaan Kapur

Women’s safety and justice in the wake of the Spanish tourist rape incident in Jharkhand

After intense outrage sparked over the rape and assault of a Spanish woman in India's Jharkhand, important questions need to be raised on the issue of women's safety in not just the region but the country as a whole. "In light of the upcoming elections in India, it is imperative that the manifestoes prioritize initiatives aimed at ensuring the safety of women in society", Muskaan Kapur analyses.

The recent incident of a Spanish woman being raped in Dumka, Jharkhand, while on a bike tour with her husband, has sparked outrage and raised pertinent questions about women's safety in India. The couple bravely shared their ordeal through a video, shedding light on the harrowing experience they endured. However, amidst the controversy, one question seems to echo: is the excuse of "why would they travel to Jharkhand" even justified?

While some may question the wisdom of traveling to certain areas, it's essential to examine the broader context of women's safety in Jharkhand and beyond. Although official crime statistics may not reflect the full extent of the issue, the reality is that women often face harassment, abuse, and social pressure that deter them from reporting incidents of violence. The pervasive notion of honor attached to women's bodies exacerbates this problem, making it difficult for victims to seek justice and support.

Moreover, the response to this particular case raises concerns about the efficacy of the justice system and the treatment of victims. While the vlogger couple received financial compensation from the authorities, it appeared to be primarily for the optics, aimed at mitigating the negative publicity and safeguarding the country's reputation. The compensation, although significant, was made a considerable deal to correct the bad publicity surrounding the incident. It is worth noting that many victims of sexual violence do not even see their cases registered, let alone reach the courts. This case, therefore, underscores broader issues within the justice system, including the lack of timely justice and the stigma attached to survivors, which exacerbate their suffering and perpetuate a cycle of impunity. 

In light of these challenges, it's crucial for authorities and organizations like the National Commission for Women and the court to prioritize tangible action over mere optics.

Rather than focusing solely on managing the country's reputation, efforts should be directed towards ensuring accountability, providing support to survivors, and fostering a culture of respect and safety for all women.

Ultimately, creating a society where women feel safe and empowered requires a concerted effort to address deep-rooted patriarchal attitudes and systemic flaws in the justice system. Only through genuine commitment to change can we hope to prevent such tragedies and ensure that every individual, regardless of gender, can live free from fear and violence.

In light of the upcoming elections in India, it is imperative that the manifestoes prioritize initiatives aimed at ensuring the safety of women in society.

Instead of merely offering financial incentives, there should be a focus on introducing recreational activities that engage the youth in healthy discourses. Providing a monthly stipend of 1000 rupees may offer short-term relief, but it fails to address the root causes of societal issues, including gender-based violence and discrimination. By promoting constructive engagement through recreational activities, the youth can be empowered to foster a safer and more inclusive environment for all individuals, particularly women. Therefore, political manifestos should emphasize strategies that promote long-term societal change and address the underlying issues contributing to gender-based violence.


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