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: