Bengaluru, Jan 7: In India's tech hub Bengaluru, as politicians and police refuse to admit violation of women's dignity and rights over their bodies on a daily basis, CCTV cameras installed in random corners, secretly filmed the true nature of an upwardly mobile city.
On the night of New Year's Eve, as we were drowning our demonetisation-induced sorrows in whiskey, several of our fellow Bengalurean women were running for cover from their assaulters in city's most vibrant space, Brigade Road. And, then there was also the case of one lone woman walking on a street close to her house in Kammanahalli, in the other side of the city, when two motorcycle-borne molesters attacked her.
Perhaps on the same night, many more women faced similar situations (like the aforesaid episodes). Mayhap those incidents were not captured by cameras.
Yes, in Bengaluru, like in any other corner of India, men dictate terms and women either silently follow the set rules or, if they dare to act courageous, turn martyrs.
If you are a woman and dare to wear what you really want to wear and venture out on the streets in the dark nights to celebrate or even for work-related purpose, in all likelihood you will be attacked and mauled, not by animals, but by fellow men.
And why limit ourselves to night-time? During the days, in buses, streets and homes, many a times a saree or burqa-clad woman (if at all one believes that ones attire decides ones safety) too silently suffer sexual assaults.
Crimes against women, especially sexual assaults, are so common in India, that even journalists find it 'mundane' to report and write about them. However, once in a while episodes like the Nirbhaya case or the Bengaluru mass molestation become the rallying point of public anger against a problem that is so deeply entrenched in our society. After a few days of public protests and continuous media coverage, even such high-profile cases are relegated to the background.
"Statistics related to rape and crime against women is just the tip of an iceberg," Shakun Mohini, women's rights activist from Vimochana, a city-based non-profit organisation, told OneIndia.
"Our experience tells us that most of the cases go unreported or police refuse to file cases against them," Shakun added.
As per the National Crime Records Bureau data released last year, nearly 3.27 lakh cases of crimes against women were reported across the country in 2015. Of these over 1.3 lakh were sexual offences.
Over 34,600 cases of rape have been reported across the country in 2015, with Madhya Pradesh and Delhi topping the infamous list of states and union territories respectively. We have to wait for a few more months to know the statistics from 2016.
If these numbers don't send a chill down the spine, what else will?