Jisha: We are writing this a week later and we are sorry about it.
29th April 2016, Jisha, a 29 year old law student from Kerala was found brutally assaulted, raped and murdered in her own house. Sorry we forgot to mention that she was a Dalit too. It is not being highlighted here to draw your attention towards the discrimination with minorities at state or national levels but ton how neighborhoods have been attending them or rather ignoring them.
The news reports tells us that her intestines were pulled out, deep cuts were made across her breasts, genitals were mutilated and head was injured with a hard object which led to her death. The girl was assaulted before and after her death with about 20 injuries. ‘The Nirbhaya of Kerala’ that’s how the incident has been termed now.
Living alone with her mother at Rayamangalam district in Kerala, Jisha was a law student who wanted to work for the communities. But sadly when you are a young girl and living without any male member in the family, you have already invited enough tensions for yourself. Sad but true. When Jisha’s mother returned home and was banging on the door furiously, none of the neighbors came out to even ask what the matter was. When she was able to finally open the door, what lay in front of her was pierced body of her daughter.
Jisha was a 29 year old student who was murdered and now invariably when her mother Rajeshwari will return to her house from the hospital, she would have to bear with the ignorance of the society who has conveniently placed their pride in the women’s body.
Students of Jisha’s law college have been staging protests since the incident and demanding justice. But the irony is that the investigators are not able to collect evidences almost after one week has passed. Today there were alerts that two arrests have been made and both the accused are said to be known to Jisha.
Issues that we all draw out of such incidents, a woman was raped – a Dalit woman was raped, murdered – in her own house, in daytime – but no one cared, bystanders – mother kept shouting but no one heard, young female law student – now dead.
Fact, a woman was tortured and raped in her house is what the issue is. And we as a society after decades of women’s movement, protests, committees and laws are still standing at the same place. Our law books define rape as nonconsensual penetration and assault in the genital areas but it is so much more than that and honestly, mere eagle eyes on the streets penetrate the same way. You just cannot define RAPE. Parallels have been drawn with the Nirbhaya case now as Jisha was assaulted the same way. But what did we as a society have been able to change after Nirbhaya. We have tried being pragmatic and we have tried being aware but when that is not helping, how is justice being ensured.
To blame we have the delayed reporting, delayed response of the government and the the civil society but has that been able to drive changes if done on time. No.
A woman is not feeling safe neither on the streets nor at home is a terrible situation and bazillion efforts are not helping much is more terrifying. Politicization of this incident has already been triggered and soon it will become the heated topic for the assembly elections.
A social media post very aptly quoted that we are more worried about women entering temples rather than men entering women. Let’s get more serious about how women are made to feel safe. And also the clear out the concept of safe cities which has sadly been where there are less cases of harassment. A safe city is where we have cent per cent bystander care, where women are free to express, live safely and have equal participation opportunities in governance or in any other sphere.
#JusticeforJisha has been rolling across social media platforms. We appeal you to come forward and raise your voice. Every voice counts and this time let’s not step back till justice is granted.
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