I do believe that anti rape protests will help in ensuring that news like this becomes the norm. What else can we do apart from protesting?
1. First, here’s an initiative, and somebody should tell C C Patil that it’s not rape videos at work, but courses like this that inform and educate about Gender Issues.
When UNICEF first proposed the project in1987, it found few takers across the country. ‘A joint commissioner of police in Bangalore, Ajai Kumar Singh, stepped forward … By the end of 2012, 18,000 policemen had been trained in gender sensitivity in Karnataka.’
“Less than 20 per cent of the untrained respondents mentioned protecting women and child rights as one among their priority areas. As against this, nearly 80 per cent of the trained respondents specifically mentioned handling issues pertaining to women and children and protecting their rights as one of their focus areas,” the evaluation reported.
According to UNICEF, the focus of the programme is “attitudinal and behavioural change of police through an understanding of gender, power relations, prevalent patriarchal influences and changing social scenario”.
“The first session that we do in the training is on gender. We try to break prejudices on how women should behave, how children should behave, we try to show how attitudes influence work in the police station and how that impacts the public view of the police,” said the UNICEF coordinator for the project, Rovina Bastian.
“The usual prejudices emerge in these sessions — about how domestic violence is a trivial issue to be sorted out within the family, how victims of rape are more the accused than the victim,” she said. “One real hard-hitting fact that comes out is this whole issue of sexual power and how men are able to play with it and women are still vulnerable to exploitation — that is where they actually start thinking.”
“Even more than the training, we actually monitor what happens on cases. There are instances where cases have not been handled properly and we have contacted senior officers for intervention. Somebody to question practices itself enables checks and balances. We are lucky to have had officers interested in these issues,” said Bastian.
‘UNICEF has so far spent Rs 1.53 crore on the project in Karnataka. The state police which have agreed to take over its ownership has proposed an outlay of Rs 50 lakh per annum.
As an official involved with the programme admitted, there is a long way to go. “It is largely the younger generation of policemen, from constables to sub-inspectors, who are now sensitised. The older generation still make up the bulk of the force and the clear perceptible effect of the training may be evident only a decade or so later,” the official said.’
Not sure this constable in Bangalore had attended this course yet, though.
Who else would benefit from this programme?
Here’s a rough list, Abu Azmi, Asaram, Mohan Bhagwad, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Vijayvargiya, Vibha Rao, Education Minister T. Thiagarajan and college Principals in Puducherry, BJP minister Kailash Vijayvargiya, Anita Shukla, Anisur Rehman, Abhijit Mukherjee, Sushma Swaraj, Andhra Pradesh Police chief Dinesh Reddy, C C Patil - and many, many more.
2. And here’s another news. The fact that it is being reported and shared is also a positive and a deterrent, because street sexual harassment should be seen as a punishable crime.
A Jodhpur trial court has sentenced a man for sexually harassing a woman on a volvo bus. The trial has been concluded within a week of the case being filed. [link to the video]
Is it possible that some day such news would not make us glad that the conviction happend, but sad that the crime happened?