Heinous crimes like rapes & female foeticide/ infanticide are symptoms of some larger malaise plaguing the society. While handing out exemplary punishment, speedy judiciary, teaching the kids and adolescents to respect everyone is a part of it, I believe it is incomplete. Some systemic issues need to be addressed to minimize these issues in long run. I believe that the most important of this is economic independence of women.
- I don't have any data to support it, but economically independent women are more likely to raise a voice against wrongdoings against her, be it physical or mental abuse, sexual harassment, foeticide or rapes. These issues are often under-reported because of economic reasons & tendency to "live with it", chiefly because of economic reasons. If more and more women are economically independent, more likely would be the protest & it will deter a substantial chunk of people from mistreating women.
- The proportion of females in the work force is increasing, but is it enough? Probably no. Partly, it is due to lack of education, but partly it is due to conservative (rather regressive) mindset prevailing in the society, where other people decide whether "job/ work karwaayenge" or not (As if they are talking about an inanimate object that they have or have acquired). In fact, I know of people who know this is incorrect, but rarely raise voice against this (or at max, raise a shrill token protest, but nothing more).
At the face of it, it is not life threatening or anything for many people, but it does give rise to several systemic issues.
- While kids & teenagers should be taught to be respect people, avoid discrimination and not have false sense of inflated egos or powers, it may not be enough. A part of this "respect" needs to be "demanded" (and this will come majorly from education and economic independence).
- There is often a stigma attached to talking freely about such issues & most important is "What will people think?" A chunk of it can be reduced with economic independence of women, since they are not that dependent upon what others will say as it might not affect her survival, which would have otherwise been the case. Also, an economically independent woman is more likely to be aware of importance of speaking up.
-Even economic independence is not something that will be handed over in a platter. Getting it might entail long struggle, disobeying few peopleand ruffling a few feathers.
Above steps might not wipe off the crime altogether (it will probably be too Utopian to assume!), but I believe they can certainly reduce certain kinds of crime drastically.
What do you people think?