The article “Ring out the rhetoric, ring in results” (Jan. 1) makes one think beyond the ghastly gang rape. Many socio-religious practices demeaning and subordinating women are accepted by women themselves because they revel in perpetuating the patriarchal society. The essential reform should emanate from women if they are to lead secure lives.

Vathsala Jayaraman,

Chennai

The Delhi gang rape victim has become a symbol of the movement against atrocities committed on women and the apathetic attitude of the authorities. The incident has forced us to spare a thought for what ails our society. Unfortunately, in our daily life, we ignore or tolerate filthy language which demeans women. Even sportsmen, policemen, drivers and legislators inflict the most demeaning and choicest abuses on their colleagues or innocent citizens in the presence of women. They get away because in the eyes of law, it is not a cognisable offence.

We must ban the use of sexist language in public and put in place some deterrent to end this linguistic garbage or verbal porn from our ambience.

Padmini Raghavendra,

Secunderabad

Many of us may want the rapists to be punished with death. But will that help stop crime against women? Can we assure a woman that her dignity will not be violated if she remains at home after dusk? Can we assure her that she will be safe if she covers herself from head to toe? Can we assure her that men will not ogle at her in office? What is required to stop crimes against women?

The answer lies within us. We, men, have to change our attitude towards women. Our masculinity should not be hurt if our sisters, wives or daughters make their choices in life. Let us resolve that we will respect the dignity of women not only physically but also emotionally.

Abhay Pratap Mishra,

Pratapgarh

While religions instilled a sense of fear in the minds of perpetrators of sins in ancient and medieval societies, backed by exemplary punishment, there is no such common value code in modern societies. The modern system where even sending parents to old-age homes is justified and encouraged, individual behaviour is guided by the pleasure of senses and money, rather than respect and love for fellow human beings.

G. Sridharan,

New Delhi

I am a 72-year-old Australian woman who has travelled in India five times since 1989. I always read English language broadsheets when I visit India. I thus learned that women who report rape at police stations have a realistic chance of being raped again by the very authorities who are supposed to protect them. Yes. Australian police have been known to rape trusting women too — about once in five years, and they are swiftly dealt with.

I have read The Hindu online daily since the shocking gang rape and the death of the poor young woman. I would like to congratulate and thank the newspaper on its sober, non-sensationalist presentation of facts and exploration of the wider issues. I particularly appreciated your two-hour online forum in Chennai. The public outrage at the brutal slaying of this young woman has surely fallen on fertile ground. There must have been a readiness in Indian society to at last look its unconscionable treatment of girls and women squarely in the face. I fervently hope that this horrendous crime can be the catalyst for a long overdue tipping point which will bring about a gender-based social revolution.

Sue Currie,

Melbourne

The uproar over the recent brutalisation of the unknown paramedical student in Delhi will hopefully result in an improvement in the attitude and functioning of the police and the judiciary when handling such cases.

However, it is time to open a Pandora’s box of sexual violence against women in India. Rape by unknown random perpetrator often gets reported in the media. However, equally horrific sexual violence against wife or partner is rarely discussed. The statistical evidence in the published literature from India reveals overall rates of about 8 per cent in the general population.

What ails the Indian man? And what contributes? Data from scholarly articles point to, among others, our patriarchal traditions, our caste system, our class structure and the influence of religion. Policing is necessary but will not work by itself. Our society needs to work towards rehabilitating the psyche of the Indian man as it tries to heal the Indian woman.

Jay Desai,

California

Keywords: Delhi gang rape

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