Women participate in a protest condemning the gangrape of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi. AP
If we as a nation are serious in preventing all forms of sexual assaults on our women we shall have to take collective responsibility.
Here is a plan of action for all contributing parts of society - a plan that is simple, and practical. But the key is that we will have too take charge of our specific roles and not wait for others to begin.
We begin with ourselves with whatever we have in view of the urgency. I term it as the six Ps plan for crime preventi on to enhance safety for women.
The first and most important P is parents and principals, both integral parts of ' People'.
No boy is born a rapist. He learns the language of his parents. He is either a product of care or neglect. His school is chosen by his parents, as is his upbringing. If a son is abusive, alcoholic or an addict who misbehaves with women, parents are equally responsible.
He has either copied his parents, or he was nurtured poorly. Parents cannot escape responsibility for the misdemeanour of their son/s. Therefore, the message is be responsible parents by giving to society responsible boys. Without this, police alone cannot prevent crimes against women.
In the same group is P for principals. By this it is meant educators who are akin to parents in school. How they educate and inspire shapes the thinking of the students.
Educators are equally responsible for value education. As educators they strengthen the hands of parents in shaping mindsets of their sons and daughters. Parents and principals form the real foundation of people, called the community.
The second important P is police. This P has miserably failed to provide security and instil confidence among women. In fact, police are a risk by themselves. This is a matter of shame!
The real reason of this decay is rampant corruption that has eroded the service. Nothing is without a price. Police leadership has failed the country. If the Indian Police Service officers would remember for what they were recruited and who their first duty is towards, their whole approach to police would change. They would work with people, provide community policing, and ensure proper beat policing.
In other words, it means doing community policing in crime prevention with the help of NGOs, civil defence volunteers, NCC/ NSS cadets, panchayats and private security agencies. There is no dearth of community help provided one is willing to prioritise crime prevention and safety of women.
The next P is the politician. This category has by its sad performance lost all credibility over the years. Some of them have become pests we can't get rid of. If they realise what they were elected for, crimes against women cannot happen, for they will inspire and educate people through all their interactions in their respective constituencies.
But what do they do when some of them are perpetrators themselves? They are law- givers. They have to provide strong laws, resources and ensure they do not interfere in the justice system.
This P is the most vital to provide the enabling environment for the earlier two Ps ( but this group only works when under pressure).
The fourth P is prosecution. This means the way we conduct trials in the courts. This P has failed the community by its delayed trials, shortage of judges besides releasing criminals, most of the times, unconditionally. This P is important for restoring the sense of justice.
The fifth P is pictures. This refers to films and the way they shoot item songs with skimpily clad women. These do not enhance respect for women. They make commodities of women. Our entertainment industry needs to reflect on the way it is presenting women in films.
The last P is prisons. This is where contamination has to stop and reforms have to take place as we did in Tihar.
If parents and teachers would nurture and educate, and police were to do crime prevention and investigations honestly, politicians were to serve the people with integrity, prosecution was to prosecute with speed, and prisons were to reform, our crimes would be low and women would feel safe. The failure of one P weakens the performance of the other.
Let all six Ps deliver this year. Let this be our New Year resolve.