I am writing this letter to you because since past few days, some questions related to your case are continuously disturbing me. The very first question is, why are Jishas getting raped? What makes a man inflict such brutality on the bodies of women? And who ultimately wins the battle? The oppressor or the victim? And according to me, it is the victim who wins. This statement of mine must be sounding injurious to the patriarchal ego of a society at large, since society from the very beginning, had set some norms which have been followed and are being followed by the people. These are the norms which define a woman as a ‘woman’ and a man as a ‘man’. A man has to be ‘tough’, ‘aggressive’, ‘working’ and etc. Whereas, a woman has to be ‘fragile’, ‘emotional’, ‘coy’, ‘sacrificing’ and ‘homely’, who does not have any right to know about the outside world. A woman is supposed to look beautiful but if someone gets attracted towards her beauty, she is labeled as a ‘shameless whore’. As the world progressed and women proved themselves as professionally capable and equal, they were allowed the right to work, while however maintaining their ‘dignity’ and living up to the ideal of ‘womanhood’ imposed by the society. When women started working and confronted people and situations, they became conscious of their basic rights. This led them to come up overpoweringly which again is not acceptable for this male dominated society and ends up producing more like you.
You were one such who fought for one’s rights. You educated yourself and dreamt of winning the world around. You were a law student which again is against the norms of social governance since law is such a field where rules are made and rights are fought for. You were a threat to this unjust world as you talked about equal rights and fighting against discrimination. Because you broke down all the stereotypes and restrictions, rape and murder were obvious consequences to tame you. But, you are victorious Jisha, as you did not accept your marginalization as a woman and fought for your rights till the very end.
The next question which is haunting me is that, much like you Nirbhaya was also raped and then murdered, but why is it so that Nirbhaya’s case was a ‘prime-time’ concern while very few even know about the cruelty you faced? Very few media channels showcased or pursued your story. Very few agitated and marched on streets in demand of justice for you. Why is it so? Is it because you are a Dalit woman, coming from one of the most marginalized sections of society? And the answer after looking at facts and even history reveals, that this was the primary reason for you not becoming the topic of prime-time debates. History bears witness that SCs and STs have been inflicted violations upon for every basic rights including the right to their bodies. The infamous ‘stan-kar’ is an appropriate evidence of how Dalits and Adiwasis were deprived of their bodily rights from the very beginning. As, in ‘stan-kar’ women from the Shanar community( SCs) were not allowed to cover their upper bodies, if they were unable to pay the tax. Agitated by this inhuman law, a woman from the same community chopped off her breasts and ultimately died, resulting in widespread resistance, finally the ‘stan-kar’ was banned. Jisha, you remind me of that woman who fought and died but her death helped in awakening people and resulted in massive revolt against the atrocious system and finally were given their rights to cover themselves. Recently I read a story, ‘November is The Night of Migration ‘ from the book, ‘Adiwasis Will Not Dance’s where a Adiwasi woman had to fulfill the sexual demands of a ‘jawan’ from the Railway ‘Protection’ Force, for a mere morsel of food and the woman did it in a very normalized way. So, this gives us the sketch of thenormalization of sexual assaults, because of which Dalits and Adiwasis rapes are not even being registered. This is only when society wakes up to such events of crime that legal judicial processes can be appealed to. But, such a social awakening is still far from sights.
I wanted to say so many things to you Jisha, but at last I would just say that, we will fight against this unjust and hypocritical state, and build a world where everyone has freedom to speak, like, dislike, eat, drink, walk, breathe, love and live. As, it is the need of social justice and humanity.