For years, men in the armed forces have been exploiting their power and taking advantage of the vulnerable women in Kashmir. Earlier this week, Major Leetul Gogoi was caught in a Srinagar hotel with a young girl – a class 10 student. This has opened up a can of worms. And the Kunan Poshpora case (1991) has resurfaced again. Kashmiris have been voicing their concerns for years, but the government has turned a deaf ear. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has given the army, the authority to do anything they like. Besides bullying and harassing innocent people, they have been time and again, caught eves-teasing.
School going girls, college students and young women have been victims. They have been made to feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. Allegations against men in power are prolific and severe – the Kathua rape case, the case took a communal turn; Unnao rape case, whereby the main accused is an MLA; Jharkhand case where the rape victim was set alight; RK Pachauri caught in a sexual harassment case; Tarun Tejpal of Tehelka magazine and the Supreme Court Judge Asok Kumar Ganguly.
- Are We heading towards a Rape Culture?
- Is there anything more to be ashamed of?
- Dear PM, Death is the only Justice for Gang Rape
- Why is Rape not Declared a National Crisis in India?
Unfortunately, the men are unashamed of their actions. In fact, they feel that it is their right. They are sexual predators in seats of power. Moreover, they are powered by the very institutions and authorities which are supposed to serve the public. These men in power get away with rapes and sexual harassment and even talk about their endeavors with the utmost proud. They are manipulative and talk about conspiracies against them and create communal discord. They are selfish to have no compassion. These men see women as mere objects for their sexual satisfaction.
The women suffer quietly and publicly shamed. The perpetrators sit back and look for their next victim. Their victims match their basic criteria of poor, vulnerable, young, career-minded, need of financial support and backward class or no societal standing.
The men know that women from poor backgrounds will not be able to withstand their advances as they can be quietened with a few threats. This is the appalling reality and very much part of India’s patriarchal culture, where the sexual misconduct is waved off as a fly sitting on a piece of cake, where women are seen as objects for use as they please, and where the law has no value.