Courtesy: Freedigitalphotos.net

Satyamev Jayate is back with Season 2. I had loved the first Season. You may not share my views or enthusiasm but that is fine too. Yesterday’s episode brought on the tears and even the guffaw at one juncture. I know it is depressing to watch the pitiful state that prevails in this country for women especially rape victims fighting for justice. It makes one angry too. Yes, we may want to avoid watching it because it is easier to close our eyes or turn our faces away and shut it all out. Alas, that hardly changes the status quo. Yes, my watching it will not change things either. But, it makes me aware, aware of how the system is working, what needs to be changed and where to lend my voice or helping hand. It also initiates dialogs about issues that we may not be aware of or those that are not in the limelight. Who knows with the support of a celebrity, our votes and a channel putting its weight behind it, the dream of one-stop crisis centres for all rape victims may actually become a reality?

Like we say in Hindi/Urdu,

Umeed pe duniya qayam hai! (The world revolves around hope!)

Yesterday’s episode focused on the rape victim. And how the three pillars of society continuously and unabashedly let her down. How the victim is oppressed, ostracized, judged, and harassed while her oppressor is let off scotfree and enjoys a fruitful life. Right from the police station to the doctors and the judiciary, she suffers and is humiliated every step of the day. Sometimes the intent may not be malicious but the apathy is frightening. She is a hot potato that no one wishes to handle. Of course, it all boils down to us – our society. Look around you; do you know a rape survivor? How do you react towards them? Are they pariahs to be shunned and be kept at arm’s length? Do we openly speak about abuse, molestation and rape? How will you react if someone in your family or among your friends gets raped? These are uncomfortable questions, we don’t want to address.

Being a woman, I can imagine the trauma of a woman who is raped. But worse still our society does not offer her swift justice if any justice at all. Without a closure, she stays stuck at that day of the incident, unable to move on or to heal. She is not dead. Her honor is not affected. She is still the same person who has been scarred by a horrifying incident. She needs our love and empathy to heal and reconnect with the mainstream. Seeing the stories of the rape survivors brought on the frustration, tears and hope even. Hope because there are people like a rape victim’s husband who is standing firmly by her side fighting a battle for justice despite threats and intimidation. There are NGOs, doctors, police officers and lawyers who are trying their best to improve the situation.  There are rape survivors who refuse to be intimidated who are openly speaking up and living it up against all odds.

As someone who has had a brush with the legal system, I know how frustrating the whole setup is. Everything is squarely tipped in favor of the offender, and the victim gets no succor. It is like the odds are stacked against you the day you set foot in the court. Like the lady who speaks in the end says, “The legal system drains you, defeats you, breaks you and makes you lose all faith in democracy and justice.” I truly wish that someone would show a way to bring about judicial reforms. Else, no one in this country is safe ever. At the moment, all you can do is pray that you never have to see an inside of a courtroom ever.

Catch the episode online. Watch the reality. Spread the word. And most importantly be empathetic. To end the show, Aamir says that 99% of the people in the country are scared. The women are scared of being raped and the men are scared that someone related to them may get raped. And it is 1% of the population that may be the bad guys. So, why can’t the vast majority join hands and do something to redeem the situation? There was a call at the end of the show to Vote for Change.

Go to Satyamevjayate.in to sign the petitions if you feel for the cause.  It is good to celebrate ‘Women’s Day;’ it is even better to celebrate her every single day. In some way, no matter how small, engage and fight for change because the status quo is just too terrible to continue with.

P.S: I made an appearance on Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM today. I could record two snippets from the entire conversation. I was speaking as a common woman citizen in Bangalore city. Do listen in to the audio below:



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62 Thoughts on “She needs you!

  1. The show was disturbing, no doubt, but informative too. For instance, I didn’t know that you have to give proof of the crime to register an FIR. Things are not going to change just because we watch a show but at least we can be more aware.

    • I guess reality is disturbing especially for women. But like you, I learned a lot of things too about interrogation tactics, police and mindless medical tests. Things will change only if we are aware and actively discuss and demand change. Not everyone can do dharna but mass mobilization and awareness for such causes is very important.

  2. Rahul on March 3, 2014 at 3:54 pm said:

    At least the women have come forward and shown that they are capable to defend their honor! Kudos to these women and am sure with more awareness, the wheels of justice would perhaps gain momentum with time to deliver swift justice!

    • Yes, at least these brave women have come forward to share their experience. And I hate using the word honor in the context of a woman’s reputation. I hope that rape can be looked at as a brutal assault by a sick person. Yes, the wheels of justice need a complete overhaul. The system needs to change quickly.

  3. Created a lot of controversy last season! First episode sounds good though… lets see!

  4. I didn’t see the episode, but now I wish I had. My reasons would be the same as yours… the exact same.

    People may say that watching such programs wouldn’t change anything. That a dialogue about the issue, just a dialogue, is futile. In a way I would agree. Just talk isn’t going to solves anything. But are you doing anything else? Are you putting your time, money and heart where your mouth is?

    If not, at least talk about it. Create a discussion around a taboo topic. Let your children hear you express your outrage. Then, I hope and pray, the new generation will create systems and processes to uproot this tree of injustice.

    On this issue, at this time, it doesn’t help if you keep silent.

    • I can’t add anything more to your already perfectly articulated comment. Let’s watch and give SJ a chance. Someone is doing something different, and we can’t help look beyond our cynicism. I do hope you catch the retelecast. I had recorded and watched it.

  5. Very well said Rachna. I agree it would have been easier to not watch it. So many times I was tempted to change the channel but I just couldn’t. It was an eye opener. Especially the response of the medical fraternity is something that I never even thought of. There are so many things we don’t know. I am glad I know the state of things and also relieved that there are some people who are taking tiny steps towards the change. More than anything such awareness increases the moral responsibility of any individual.

    • I agree, Sfurti! It is so much easier to turn our face away than to watch and accept reality. Yes, it is depressing, but then I wonder who has the onus of changing things if we just close our eyes to it. Thanks for reading, as always!

  6. janu on March 3, 2014 at 7:23 pm said:

    One, people do not come up with TV shows like this. And two, when someone comes up with a show there are people who just throw brickbats at the person. They are always trying to see what is wrong with the show, rather than what is right with the show. There were many tweets against the show…I mean as a lay person you can’t freaking change a damn thing about the system, all we do is sit and yap…at least someone is trying to do something, in a way he thinks is right. So, what is your problem?
    My son is 15 and he watched the whole program….the youth is getting educated and to me it is a big plus.
    Cheers on your radio debut. 🙂

    • Janu, you took words out of my own mouth. I feel exactly the same. We don’t do anything and yet we want to pull everyone down who tries to do something. Why don’t we have more shows like these indeed? My son also watched parts of the program. It is recorded and he will be watching it. I regularly share such stories with him because this is the truth of life in India. Thank you for speaking your mind and mine too :).

  7. It’s so sad na… victims are blamed.. there is no empathy.
    I remember an episode from school days – a classmate was followed home by a couple of boys with an unsavory reputation. Her mother saw that from their balcony and guess what she did – she punished her daughter!! She was locked up in her room for 2 days and the mother was a teacher in our school!!
    That left a deep impact and I used to wonder – why was she punished?

    I haven’t watched the episode yet, but I will. First season was hard-hitting and it brought about some changes.. but an overhaul of the entire judiciary system might never happen sadly. We have too much corruption at all levels!

    You have said it well Rachna!

    • Oh Gosh, just speaks of the deep stuipidity that runs in our society. If a boy misbehaves, it is the girl’s fault? What makes me shudder is that the mother was a teacher. Now what must she be imparting to her students with such attitude? Yes, overhaul of the judiciary is a distant dream. I wonder if anyone is even taking baby steps. Thanks for reading, Pixie.

  8. Like you said Rachna, rape is one of our biggest fears and we are letting it change the way we think and conduct ourselves.

    Most girls in our society are not even aware of how it feels like to walk with their head held high without fear stalking their minds.

    • Absolute right, Purba. I see my own behavior change on the streets and my freedom curbed. This fear is pervading our lives. Such a sad state. This needs to be addressed urgently.

  9. Such sad state of affairs. I did not watch the show..I think it should be available on you tube. Will do. It must have taken a lot of courage on her part to appear on the show. My mind numbs even to think of how it feels like after a rape. How much trauma the victim undergoes…how much help she needs…I really wish more sensible human beings are raised. Don’t know what else to say. wish I could hear more of your radio

    • Truly a sad state of affairs. Yes, it should be available on youtube. All the survivors were courageous to appear on the show. I wish I could have recorded more of the radio too :/. Thanks for reading, Latha!

  10. I did not see the episode. 🙁 Must youtube it!!!!
    Ummeed pe duniya kayam hai….par in insaano ka kya karein?
    The mentality needs to change, the way of looking at a girl needs to change. Only then can there ever be any hope.

  11. True that! And that is why society is one of the biggest culprits as to why the status quo remains this way. What is heartening is that there are people, young parents who stand by their little daughter, husbands with wives to fight the rapists and the establishment. The apathy is cruel. And I think things have reached rock bottom. Change must be initiated now. Thanks for reading!

  12. True, Rachna. I agree. Movies are also a bad influence. Somehow the Bollywood movies, especially the ones pre-2000 had one believe rape victims have only 2 options – marry the culprit or die by the end of the movie.

    Good to listen to you on radio though sad to hear that your were mishandled.

    • Exactly, TF! Movies showed the same crap over and over again somewhere influencing the mindset of the society and the victim herself. Luckily, movies these days are better. But, so much more needs to be done. Thank you about the radio bit. Yes, it was a terrible experience.

  13. You are right. The bad guys may domorodé just 1% of the crowd. Yes the judicial system in our country is pathetic. Hope things change someday

  14. yes.. have to watch it.. its being talked everywhere nowadays, but rarely any action is taken.

  15. I havent watched this episode, will check it on YouTube. It is sad and so disturbing that the rape victims are re-victimised by our society. Imagine 1% of the population terrorizing and scarring the other 99%. The change in our mindsets has to happen and that will come only through awareness and we demanding for the change in our systems.

  16. Saru Singhal on March 4, 2014 at 12:41 pm said:

    At times we all feel angry and helpless. Wish things change fast and our women feel protected and free.

    Many congratulations on Asian Paints win. You are on a roll! 🙂

  17. Good one. It is so disturbing..but we need to do something , can’t keep girls in the house. Need to spread awareness

  18. Bhavana Rao on March 4, 2014 at 3:31 pm said:

    My goodness, what a horrible incident Rachna..Thanks for sharing. Good to hear your voice again 🙂
    Take care,

  19. I watched the show and recorded it to watch again. It was disturbing but very informative as well. It is really a pity that women in our country are leading such lives. I recently heard of a case in Bengal where a man being tried of raping a minor got acquitted. What he did the next day was absolutely shocking. He stalked the same girl in a busy bazaar and tried ripping her clothes again. That is blatant truth.

    Nice to hear your voice on radio 🙂

    • Ugh! You are right, Jas. In many of these rape and assault cases, the culprit gets bail easily. He then jumps bail or absconds or terrorizes the survivor and her family. It is pathetic how the laws are so lax for the offender.

      Thanks about the radio.

  20. The whole set-up is so disgusting.Our society has queer ideas and ideals.
    Congrats on your win.
    Rachna you are very prolific i have missed many posts-ooh i am panting!

  21. I honestly dont know how women survive in India sometimes… after the Nirbhaya incident, the only thing that changed was I started seeing more headlines of gang rapes… it was as though instead of being ashamed, more men felt “hey, this looks more demeaning to ladies. Lets do this.”

    And yes, I too agree that the flaws in both medical and judicial system in India are so vast , its a miracle any person gets convicted of rape at all…

    • I am amazed too, Roshan, at the brazenness with which these crimes continue to happen. Yet, the growing awareness is somewhere rubbing off on the legislators and judiciary too. The recent guideline that banned the 2-finger test and the punishment of a husband for marital rape of his wife (even though marital rape is still not recognized in India) shows that things are moving ahead though so much more needs to be changed, to be bettered. Thanks for reading, doc!

  22. Rachna,
    What we saw is the face of a director and an actor in AK.
    The incident has had a massive coverage in the press and media when unfortunatly it happened.
    All AK has done is to dramatise it and ensure a few tears between 11 and 12 noon on Sunday morning.
    What was new in episode? Only tears

    • I politely disagree, Chowlaji! The episode painstakingly detailed what our rights are and how they are not honored. Many may not know what to do if an FIR is not filed. That it is our right and that they need to give a copy of the FIR too. Ditto for doctors and judicial establishment. I am sometimes surprised at the kind of cynicism that is prevalent in our society. When a celebrity dances at weddings or hobnobs with goons and politicians, no one questions them. But as soon as they take up a social cause, everyone trails their guns on them. I say if they use their status to push a cause, what is wrong with that? With all due respect, AK hardly needs publicity. Is he really in the business of hankering for movies or awards? For me the episode created awareness and initiated dialog. We need more such dialogs to sensitize people and lawmakers and implementers.

  23. I was surprised when I was watching that episode coz its common knowledge what transpires in the Police Station and the Courts, but Hospitals? I was more shocked than scared. People say that sometimes the mental torture is much worse than then physical pains. These people are just proving it. Felt very sad, scared and angry.

    • Yes, I felt the program disseminated some very good information. Also about what the lawyers must not ask and what doctors must do. Even exploring what our rights are in the police station and how the public can complain against an errant officer. I can’t even begin to imagine the mental trauma. I am sure it outlives the physical trauma especially with the current apathy and lack of justice. Thanks for reading, Ashwini!

  24. I remember one episode from the previous season where one activist had said that the attitude to commit such crimes comes somewhere also stems from our culture. She had mentioned festivals such as Raksha Bandhan where a toddler brother gets a rakhi tied from a twenty something sister… so will a 5 year old protect his elder sister? She continued that the message that gets inculcated into men is that women are a lower species, they are weaker and men stronger.. she was mentioning this as an attitude built up esp. in semi urban and rural areas right from childhood… with such a perspective, manhandling women is not seen as a crime but as a mean to satisfy the fundamental right of men – to hold power over women and to be “superior” to them..
    Somewhere she did make sense… and the way authorities (so clearly shown in SMJ’s episode the other day) such as doctors, police and the law handle it, it further worsens the problem for women and cements the falsehood men live under…..

    very hard hitting post Rachna… and I must tell you, when I heard your experience on radio I cringed… it took me a while to get over it…..

    • You are absolutely right, Seeta. There are many such subtle messages that keep getting drilled into our kids. We try our best to show them the liberal side, to expose them to gender equity but it is not easy, this conditioning that is everywhere including in their textbooks.

      The experience was difficult for me to speak about openly but when Radio Mirchi approached me, I felt why not. After all, women everywhere are facing this. Though it had shaken me when it happened at night among a sea of men. It still gives me shivers. And the fact that I was so helpless, my husband was so helpless :/ Thanks for reading!

  25. I had a slightly different view on this season’s episode. Although I completely agree with you on how the three pillars of our society keep letting us down by their regressive and insensitive approach, I wish the show had something more conclusive to offer by the end of the episode. Thats not to say that I’m not looking forward to the remaining ones. I am and I am hugely thankful that a show like this is here which is aiming at making all the right noises.

    And thank you for sharing your experience, Rachna. Can imagine how disgusting you must have felt. Having grown up in a city like Delhi I totally know how seething that incident must have got you..

    Take care and stay safe!

    • I wish too Deeps that there were some concrete things or solutions that could be offered by the end of the show. Alas, the problem is so big and on so many levels including society at large that it seems almost impossible to fix. But I am glad that small steps like 2-finger test got banned yesterday. One step at a time and perhaps we can conquer this menace. I agree with your viewpoint too.

      Yep, it is almost normal for women to face groping and molestation. But when it is done in a crowd, it is so unnerving. I was just too scared and sick that night. Thanks for reading and for your warm wishes, Deepti.

  26. Very relevant post Rachna and something that each and every woman in India goes through. It must have been so humiliating to be groped on new year’s day.

    I did watch some episodes of the first season. And it was an eye-opener. Will definitely watch all this time.

    • I think you will find the episodes informative and relevant. I look forward to the next one. Yes, groping is such a menace in India. It is so disgusting and terribly humiliating.

  27. Vivek Metta on March 7, 2014 at 7:58 pm said:

    A little discipline. That’s what we need. And it begins at home. And at an early age.

    That is not possible without parents teaching their son to respect women.

    Lets educate.

    My wishes to all great ladies on Women’s day..!

  28. You have made great points in you post just as, I’m sure, Aamir Khan in his program. My fear, however, is that the issue has now been discussed so often and so volubly that our audiences have started to glaze over it. I don’t mean to sound insensitive to this very real problem, but it is time to start acting on a remedy rather than merely talking about it.

    Of course, if our society only knew how to fix its underlying malaise, we would all be much better off, wouldn’t we?

  29. Yes, you are absolutely right, Rickie. That is my fear too. I think we have seen and heard so much that we don’t have the stomach to take it any more. Closing our eyes and turning our face is so much easier. Actually, the acting part has already started like they revealed in the program and then last week you must have read that the terrible 2-finger test has been banned. Unfortunately, if the topic and the levels at which things are going wrong stop getting discussed, then the focus shifts. The problem of attitudes is just too chronic and I have no clue how and when will women start getting the respect they deserve. Recently I read a story of a young girl in Haryana who was married off against her wishes to a 50-year-old man. He repeatedly raped her every night. When she refused to go back to his home, she was strangled to death by her own father for hurting the family’s honor. No one in the village came to help her including the police. What does one even do with such people?

  30. Chosing not to watch the programme and turning one’s head away is no solution to the problem but the crux is to understand the problems and the difficulties of the survivor . There is an urgent need for the survivor to be integrated into the main stream society as she is alienated for no fault of her own. By accepting her and even voicing our support in her struggle would be encouraging.

    • Well put, Kalpana! Integrating her in the mainstream and showing her empathy can make every rape survivor feel courageous to come forward and fight these pathetic criminals. Thanks for reading!

  31. Anita Desai on March 11, 2014 at 11:03 am said:

    Yet again, the issue brought out those ghosts from the past; of eve-teasing and molestations on Delhi roads/buses. Also, reminded of our silence then, feeling ashamed of ourselves, of those sleepless nights, of those days when wearing a salwar kurta with a huge dupatta would not make a difference to them. Glad that it is now out in the open and someone is talking about it. It is not a north-indian problem anymore, have seen this happening in the south with as much intensity.

    • Absolutely Anita; it is a pan-India phenomenon. I have lived in Bangalore since 11 years now. And it is much more unsafe than a Mumbai or an Ahmedabad yet safer than a Delhi. Crime against women shows no abating sadly. But the stigma of izzat and sharm has to go. Thanks so much for reading!

  32. I watched the show. It brought out the shocking realities and was also very informative. It showed how pathetic the situation is. It made me sad, angry and scared. What should I do if I wanted to act ? If I wanted to do something ? I don’t know. You know with these talks happening what I see is how people around me whom I had assumed to be sane have such ridiculous and stupid notions. I feel everything today around me just tells me how helpless I stand and what enormous battle one has to fight if one faces any problem.. I just get depressed.

    • I agree, simple girl with everything you say. Just yesterday I read about a girl molested in broad daylight in Mumbai and the restaurant that she approached to help threw her out. What a sicko world we are living in? Is any girl/woman safe day or night?

Do not leave without commenting. I love a good conversation :).

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