As life seeped out of the Delhi rape victim in faraway Singapore, the implications of her death were felt keenly in the city. While Chennai is generally considered among the safer cities, the brutality of the December 16 attack on a 23-year-old student and her male companion has made everyone sensitive to the issue of safety of women here.
Daniel Jesudoss (24), an editor with Professional Management Group, said, “I don’t advocate capital punishment. There are many other ways to educate men about morality and let the world know about the seriousness of this crime. And, as for what it means to the women of our country, they are not at all safe unless the country increases security.”
Most applauded her courage to fight for as long as she did. Architect Betty Abraham said, “I’m hoping that the political class and civil society decide to lay down stringent rules which would in turn make India a safer place for women.”
Anger at the inadequacy of punishment meted out to those who committed the heinous crime was also seen. Said Jonathan D*, “Men who rape are not men. For women to be reassured safety again, I say a death sentence is too easy.”
Preethi Sridharan, an IT employee, said, “Her death has to bring about a change making stringent laws and security is acceptable but the real change has to be among the people. As long as people don’t learn to be considerate and sensitive towards crime against women, her death will have been in vain.” This call for social change and how men should begin respecting women was expressed by many who spoke to Express.
Professor at a city college, Sharadha Vasudevan*, said that programmes to sensitise men must be more prominent in all fields and the crimes like rape must be a non-bailable offence to give a sense of security to women who are victims of another person’s inability to control themselves.
Every alternate post of Facebook was dedicated to the issue of women’s safety, rape, or a condolence message to the memory of the girl, who has been christened Damini (lighting in Hindi) or Nirbhaya (fearless). The top trending hashtag on Twitter for India was #RIPNirbhaya, with thousands of tweets going out in her support.
*(Names changed on request)