Only days after the rape, killing and hanging of two teenage girls Babulal Gaur, BJP leader and Madhya Pradesh Home Minister said about rape “Sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong”. Sadly this is not the first Indian official to say something questionable about rape and also not the last. Some days later Chhattisgarh’s Home Minister Ramsevak Paikra, said, “Balatkar jaisi ghatna ko koi janbujhkar nahi karta hai. Dhoke se sab karte hai (No one commits rape deliberately. It is committed by deceit),”
With political leaders such as these changing the laws of the country will not be enough to raise the 25% conviction rate in rape cases, there’s a sad uphill cultural battle to be fought.
Luckily there’s women like Anita Raghav who village after village try to change society’s perception of women. For an account of her activities go to the Youth Ki Awaaz article on her.
Apart from these much needed grass roots efforts there’s also a very practical way of preventing a significant number of rapes; building toilets. The two cousins who were raped and murdered were doing what has put girls and women in danger all across the land, they were looking after dark for a secluded space in a field. At least in their village toilets are being built, hopefully serving as a model of others.