Rape is not just about sex. It is more about power and dominance, asserting total control over a helpless woman. The rising incidence of rape is affecting the self-confidence and sense of security of millions of girls and women. The police reaction to such cases has compounded this feeling.
A few days ago, when my friend was travelling by train at 11.30 pm, a man entered the ladies’ compartment and began to masturbate. There were three other women in the coach and no policeman. They were all frightened and told the man to get out. When the next station arrived, the man ran away. My friend immediately complained to the railway police, but they told her to let it go and keep calm.
It is from this same sense of insensitivity that the the police do not file complaints when children from underprivileged households go missing, and allow male policemen to grill rape victims when cases are reported, often asking humiliating questions.
Such behaviour is ruining the image of the police and creating a sense of indignation among the public.
— Batul Kapasi
Cops’ chauvinistic, patriarchal belief systems at fault
The main reason for the rise in the number of crimes against women is the apathy of the police to such complaints.
With their chauvinistic and patriarchal belief systems, our policemen treat such cases as insignificant, an unnecessary increase in their workload. That is why, even in today’s modern times, most women do not wish to go to a police station to lodge a complaint.
The police need to be sensitised about gender issues. In order to instil confidence in women to stand up against all injustice, a separate section with only female cops must be set up in each police station.
Cops who fail to register complaints of crimes against women should be sacked, so as to act as a deterrent for other cops.
— Vanita Shenoy
We need policemen we can approach with confidence
Rape is a societal problem that is unfortunately being politicised by our leaders.
Castration, death penalty, distribution of pepper powder or even training women in self-defence are in no way the solution to this problem.
The police can act as major deterrents in preventing such crimes. But in order for that to happen, we will need a more professional, sensitive police force that law-abiding citizens can approach without hesitation and that inspires fear in the minds of criminal and anti-social elements.
The police also need to be better-equipped. Vacancies on the force need to be filled urgently. Cops need to believe in being proactive and just not reactive.
Senior police officers should think outside the box to address the problems we face today. The Mumbai police, for instance, have installed complaint and suggestion boxes at police stations across the city. This is really an innovative idea and citizens should come forward and participate.
— Ravi Katti
Theirs is a tough job with poor working conditions, no perks
There are so many atrocities, calamities, street fights, thefts, burglaries and other crimes taking place in our country every day, including crimes against women. In each of these cases, the police are supposed to reach the spot on time to control the situation. The nature of their job is very delicate and complicated.
If they are too harsh, they are accused of being brutal; if they are not stern enough, they are accused of being ineffective. Long working hours, lack of proper food and rest, low pay and allowances, no sympathy from the public, poor staff strength and harassment from seniors make a policeman’s job exhausting and demoralising.
How, then, can we expect them to do an effective job?
— V Venkitasubramanian