In the wake of unabated reporting of rape and sexual crimes that continue to make headlines and even as fast track courts are being set up along with dedicated “women in distress” helplines, Caritas India is gravely concerned with India’s lack of gender sensitivity and the growing trend of violence against women and children.
Not even a month from the infamous rape in the Capital on December 16, various media houses have extensively reported various sexual crime incidents from across the nation.
Has sexual crimes only grown over this period or are they manifestation of sudden vent blissfully ignored and suppressed for way too long.
In an effort to respond, Caritas India, the social wing of Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) plans for a consultation on February 1 to be attended by at least 60 personnel from nearly ten close networking partners in the city.
Apart from sensitizing its staff in the Head office in New Delhi, the consultation will look at causes and impacts of violence against women and girls, application of Law and role of civil society organisations (CSOs) for advocating and preventing violence against women in our family, workplace and society at large in India.
It will also have General Secretary, AIDWA, Ms. Sudha Sundaraman, Director of Joint Women’s Program (JWP) Dr. Jyotsna Chatterjee and Mr. Souamya Bhaumik, a lawyer by profession.
Maintaining Caritas India’s stand against death penalty at this point of time, Executive Director, Fr. Frederick D’Souza said that death penalty is only elimination of the offender and not the crime.
Fr. Frederick however suggested stringent punishment but with scopes for personal change and transformation. He also called on the collective responsibility of the society/state to have adequate systems and policies in place to deter crime and protect life and dignity of a human person.
“God is the author of life and no human being has the right to do away with the life of any human person”, said the Assistant Executive Director, Fr Paul Moonjely.
Clarifying his stand, Fr Paul believes that for a civilized society, it is essential to think of civilized means in treating criminals. Criminals are made and criminality is perpetrated in the society for various reasons. If people are dangerous they should be confined and refined through appropriate measures and legal enforcements.
“The need of the hour is to revolutionize our thinking through education” shared Patrick Hansda, a young public relations officer at Caritas India.
Explaining violence against women and children especially girls, Team Leader for Gender Programmes, Ms Shimray said it is partly a result of gender relations that assumes boys/men to be superior to women/girls. Given the subordinate status of women/girls, much of gender violence is considered normal and enjoys social sanction.