Since time immemorial, women have been victims of crimes such as rapes, murders, and domestic violence and have been abused physically and sexually. Even though ideas such as feminism and women’s empowerment are gaining momentum, women have been subjected to horrific crimes across India. In a series of heinous crimes, a blood-curdling murder case took the nation by surprise. On November 12, 2022, Aaftaab Poonawala was arrested for murdering his live-in partner, Shraddha Walker. Not only did he murder her, but he chopped her body into 35 pieces and disposed them in several forest areas across Delhi.
Another such incident took place on February 10, 2023, but came to light four days after the crime had been committed. Sahil Gehlot murdered his wife, 24-year-old Nikki Yadav when she stopped him from marrying another girl. Sahil, his father, a constable, and other accused were held. The victim was killed at Kashmere Gate, and her body was stored in a refrigerator as he was getting married the same day. These are just a few of the many crimes that have been reported.
Such incidents not only call the country’s law and order into question but also confirm the society’s rigid misogynist nature. Women are not safe around their family members, let alone strangers. It is our collective responsibility as a society to play our respective roles and make the space safer for all the women out there.
Why such killings?
The number of cases in which women have been strangled to death and their body parts have been chopped has increased significantly. Such cases highlight the need for women to be vigilant while choosing “the one.” Social media is a highly misleading platform that shows what people want the world to see. Meeting strangers on social media and interacting with them doesn’t show the reality of the person sitting on the other side of the screen. Verification of a person’s profile is a must. This is not done in many cases.
Movies and TV series highly influence the thinking of the masses. The current trend of directing violent and murder thrillers is detrimental to society. People take inspiration from such series and end up committing such dreadful crimes.
How safe are women in India?
Women have always faced oppression and inequality in their most visible forms. Crimes against women have occurred since the beginning of time. However, because society is progressing, it should be progress for everyone. We as a society have still been unable to provide a safe space for women in India. Rape stories make the front pages of newspapers regularly. Most cases of eve-teasing remain unreported because it is considered normal.
In a recent case, DCW Chief Swati Maliwal was dragged by a car for 10-15 minutes and was even sexually harassed. When the women holding power and privilege are unsafe, the common masses and underprivileged ones do not even stand a chance. The question should not be about providing women-friendly spaces but about making every space safe for them.
Our Collective Responsibility
The series of murders and body chopping is not only inhumane but also extremely misogynistic. The problem is not with the criminals but with the fundamental issue of patriarchy and women’s oppression. It is our collective responsibility to come together and curb this issue. The government and lawmakers should modify the existing rules and laws that are justified and quick enough to enforce. The existing laws have a lot of loopholes and are not strict enough for the crimes committed.
Society is one of the major reasons why women fear coming forward and reporting crimes. People always judge them and the “she would have done something” narrative comes up whenever one tries to take a stand for themselves. Society should stop judging women and support them in coming forward with their problems.
Even if families do not support the idea of a live-in relationship, they should sit together and sort it out rather than isolate their children. Sloganing and rallies are ineffective on their own. We need to come together, and each one of us needs to play our part, as it is high time that equality is seen in the real world rather than restricted to paper.
– SURABHI SINGH