I Think: Rape news on TV may be a bad influence

Bhaskar P, shopkeeper, Bangalore

Bhaskar P believes only stricter laws and better governance can change the status quo. Photo: Harikesh P

I read the newspaper every day, but don’t follow news on TV, the reason being that there are so many stories about rape and sexual violence. I have two sons, and I don’t want them to be wrongly influenced and do such things due to the exposure to such stories… even though it is only news.

I recently learnt about the #MeToo movement, when I read the news of Arjun Sarja. I know only a little about this, but anything bad happening to women is intolerable. I want to give an example: let’s say something happens to women of our family. Would we keep quiet? The same way, the government should handle every case sternly. But that doesn’t happen because the government is not following the rules strictly. If they bribe officers, offenders can escape punishment. If and only if stricter laws are present would there be fewer crimes.

The situation is even worse in villages and other remote places. At least in urban areas, women are brave enough to go and complain against the person, whoever he may be. But in villages, I feel that even the educated lot are not pushing back against wrongdoers.

Nowadays, the media does reach these places, which is a very positive thing, but if the victim is poor and is paid hush money by the miscreant they accept it and stay quiet. Also rich lawbreakers frame the poor and forcibly put them in jail by using the power of money.

Nowadays people blame the police for not bringing out the truth or for not giving justice to the victims, but I feel this that people sitting in higher positions are more responsible. An influential miscreant will seek the help of a higher official to let him free — then what is the use of a subordinate struggling to bring the truth to light?

My solution for these types of cases is to give the wrongdoer a chance to correct himself. But if he does it again he should be imprisoned and punished severely.

The punishment should be so severe that no one else should ever try committing the mistake again. I have heard that in some countries the fingers of the lawbreaker are cut and the punishment is even stricter sometimes. In this way people fear committing these mistakes. But in the Indian setup, the miscreant doesn’t care and goes to jail as though he has fought for the country’s independence. This would change if the laws are made stricter.

If I were a journalist, I would portray the incident as it happened and try to fight for the victim. My message to the media is that it is doing its work properly. The only thing lacking in our country is good governance and strict laws. If this becomes reality, India would prosper.

This is one in a series of articles that NewsTracker published from 25 November to 10 December as part of the #16Days activism, aligned with the UN’s International Day for Ending Violence Against Women. This piece appeared on Day 11.