Where does the buck stop?
In the recent case of Dr Priyanka Reddy, whose life was gruesomely cut short for no fault of hers, victim-blaming by responsible leaders and guardians of law brings us to the question; who is really responsible?
Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi said India will gain true independence when women of the country can roam freely in the midnight.
After 72 years also this vision of Gandhi has not come to fruition and, with the recent case of Dr Priyanka Reddy's, whose life was gruesomely cut short for no fault of hers, we think a woman is unsafe at all times.
The tragedy of the incident and many other tragedies on women in recent times amplify with the judgmental attitude towards the victim.
Even with Priyanka, right from the word go cops and then leaders have started victim-blaming. This brings one question to fore…is it the mistake of the girl if she steps out in the night? Till when will we remain insensitive towards issues like this? When will atrocities against women come to an end? Where does the buck stop?
When such incidents happen, the confidence of predators increases as they think they can get away with it. Flatting the tyre is a common way to lure the victim. As I recall this also happened to a journalist long back. We don't have the culture of calling emergency numbers.
It does not click to call the emergency numbers and police is doing nothing in this regard to spread awareness among people. There is no agency, why would a woman call 100 out of nowhere, even men won't do that.
I think, to spread awareness, there should be hoardings all over the city and State for that matter, radio jingles with a message to call emergency numbers should play, and sessions should be conducted in schools and colleges.
And the response of cops was not good. When the kin of the victim approached police rather than swinging into action, they started the blame game and were trying to shrug it off by stating that she might have eloped.
Do they have the authority to ask this? This only decreases the trust between cops and citizens. The police force should be polite, and they must take action immediately…just posting hashtags like #PeopleFriendlyPolice, #WeAreHereForYou on social media does not help the cause.
Instead of victim-blaming, commissions should be set up to stop violence against women – Spurthi Kolipaka, Social Worker
This a shocking incident, I really do not know what to say. If there are no proper facilities for women, this kind of issues are bound to happen.
Instead of understanding the gravity of the situation authorities and leaders have started victim-blaming. It is not wrong to be outside at night and in this case, it was just 9:30 pm.
Rather than putting the wrong on girls and women, we should think where these monsters come from and what can be done to stop these monsters.
- Anusha Bharadwaj, Executive Director Voice 4 Girls, Social Entrepreneur, Gender Advocate
The mindset of the people, who are saying she should have called 100 or she should have done this or that, it should be changed first.
It is the failure of our system, civil society, police and everybody who is unable to protect a woman, who is in distress. Even the community, who were around Priyanka, are equally responsible, who could not protect her.
She was pushed into such circumstances and death is the result because people there saw her in an abusive manner which she was telling her sister also 'if I will stand here people will stare at me'.
Even people if I stand at a bus stop, the bikers come and pass lewd comment. The people, who are standing around her should have protected her.
It is not an individual responsibility, but it is of a community. When her mother approached police station the police said that it is not my jurisdiction you go to some other police station.
The police should be sensitive that if someone is approaching them they should help. At the end of the day, the mobile may go out of charging also people should understand how best we can protect women in such a situation.
- Sumitra Makkapati is a founder member of Ankuram Women and Child Development
It was a sad incident in Hyderabad. We thought that Hyderabad is a safe place when Nirbhaya happened in Delhi, but recently after seeing all these cases, I feel that women have to learn the techniques to save themselves.
We should address the men who are criminals they are not educated by teaching them how to respect the women. Police should teach their subordinates to react immediately in such situations.
All though we dial 100 we do not reach them directly, we have to answer there so many questions to reach them, instead of that we should create a special team to handle emergency numbers.
- Dr Mamatha Raguveer Achanta, Founder Tharuni
It is wrong to tell that she could have done this or that. Because we don't know what all happened with her and how she was facing that situation.
They burnt her because they don't want to keep any evidence. This such a gruesome incident. Rather than passing the baton of the blame on victim authorities should see that in future incidents like these do not happen.
- Jameela Nishat, founder of Shaheen Women's Resource and Welfare Association
I would tell that it is not about the post-incident or post-assault. What happened to Priyanka, a doctor, who would have contributed so much to the society, has been killed without her fault.
Two things happened here… where the minister and police said that she did not have the presence of mind. We want to ask them why you don't ask the rapist about the presence of mind. Did anytime the minister or the commissioner of Telangana sit and talk about such incidents?
They have never thought about all this, and there are so many Priyankas around us. And predators like these are in search of such Priyankas. The rapist is not bothered about day or night he just does it.
Prevention is the criteria and they should assure that they will be no Priyankas. Till now cases are pending against Azham School. What are we doing by building a 10-storied building to look at the idols?
What are we doing about these lurking minds? Everywhere women are under threat. What is the action plan? Why the police are not alert?
Who is talking about awareness? They had the guts to tell that she did not dial 100, I will say she will not dial 100 instead lock up all the men of Telangana and let the woman be free on the road.
- Dr Lubna Sarwath, General Secretary, Socialist Party (India)