It is surprising to hear people still promoting the societal values of Assam and the Assamese culture.
Generally, it is heard people romping the statement, “Women and children are safe here in Assam.” This statement is rampant mostly stated by many men in the society, however, even women support the statement but the data of rapes, assault, molestation states otherwise.
The recent upsurge in crimes against children in Assam challenges the very statement of such a hypothesis.
According to the NCRB (The National Crime Records Bureau), Report of Crime Against Children, Assam records a total of 5447 in 2018, a major rise in 2019 which is 6608 cases and more than 4000 cases in 2020. There are more than 15 rape cases registered.
NCRB records more than two thousand cases of kidnapping and abduction of children in the state. According to Section 376 of IPC, there were 18 recorded rape cases of children which in comparison to Bihar is much higher in the year 2020.
These reports are not just figures but are facts being reported of rising crimes against children but what should be questioned here? Should elders of the society be questioned or the system which cannot ensure protection towards the children of the state? How far should be the educational institution be to be blamed for not promoting sex education in schools, colleges and universities? India ranks the highest in having a population of 138 crores but still, the people are hesitant to talk about sex, however, the population growth highlights otherwise.
The recent incident at Nagaon where a girl child was forced to watch porn and later killed because she refused to watch it. This incident also highlights that the children who came in conflict with the law had no idea about consent.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Model Rules of 2016 highlight how a child who conflicts with the law should be rehabilitated but the society and system at large fail to understand the root cause and languishes for punishment.
Will punishment stop crimes or promote more? Did punishment stop crimes such as rapes and molestation? The basic core is to rehabilitate and teach how to be accountable for one’s action and how it is affecting lives as a whole and society at large.
On the 20th of September 2020, a man raped a woman and killed a three-month-old child in Boko, Assam. The police are still investigating the case.
To mark another shocking incident a man raped his 14 years old adopted daughter. The case was highlighted after the mother of the child took her for a medical test and thereafter filed an F.I.R. There are hundreds of such heinous crimes against children but the root cause is now to be questioned.
One needs to question the misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and other such phobias along with questioning sexist and patriarchal values that are being introduced through movies, advertisements, and pornographic movies.
The youth of the society are over-hyped with the movies which promote violence, rape, molestation, and androcentrism (male-centered norms) rather than promoting awareness.
The youths today mostly are privileged with mobile phones and other gadgets through which access to pornographic movies which showcases power imbalance between males and females are rampant and easily accessible.
Movies are another source through which misogyny is being spread. Social media today is filled with sexist memes and jokes.
However, when pointed out with such remarks many people argue and state, “these are jokes there is nothing to be taken seriously,” but they forget to understand that somewhere this is creating an imbalance. An imbalance of power, dynamics, and gender dysmorphia.
To tackle these problems and stigmas one can ensure age-appropriate sex education to children in schools, high schools, and other educational institutions.
Awareness campaigns and research should be done in higher institutions to spread awareness about gender-based violence.
People need to take accountability for their actions, they should be taught about their responsibilities and should learn how to reform themselves and the society at large.
Empowering education will result in change based on equality and equity. Our youth should be educated about consent, safe sex practices, violence, preventive measures, and moral code of conduct.
However, discrimination based on gender, religion, class, caste, clothes, culture, and languages should be averted. When choices are based on exploiting conditioning, change is seldom met.