My eyes are quite glued to this acid attack news from the very beginning, it found its place on the front page of all the national dailies. Perhaps its because, I have been frequenting the office of SAS [ Sancharika Samuha] to see all the files its been monitoring on gender based violence. This office monitors 14 national dailies, everyday and keeps all the news cuttings based on violence against women. Women who keep their eyes on news, found it quite satisfying that this particular case of acid attack was well covered in our media compared to other VAW case.
If we dig deep, to find the reason, why men throw acid on the face of girl[s], with very few exception, most of the answer is simple. Men simply can't take no as no; when he had romantic fantasy about a girl. So, disfiguring her beyond recognition seem to be satisfying his ‘hurt ego’. With this kind of act men also seem to be sending a strong message; if I can't have you no one should. Interestingly, we don't read much about a man who married an acid attacked victim. This really makes me wonder how come a man seem to be knowing what men see in a woman ? Should not this be making all the intellect of our society think hard ?
Sometime back, as I was flipping yet another VAW file and one particular news of acid pulled my attention and reading it simply numbed all my senses and I had to regain my senses before I go further down. It was about a man who had suspected that his wife is having an extramarital affair. So, as a revenge this man poured a bottle of acid on her genital, when she was sleeping. Even the word hideous act fails to grasp the real pain she has to go through now and forever as long as she lives.
How come a man can think of such horrible things and then act on the thought as well ? One should think twice before they use the term male honor for such kind of act ? In western criminology this type of physiological behaviour is described as the one who is suffering from narcissistic disorder ? what is so honoring about narcissistic disorder ?
Another very disturbing news about acid attack comes from terai, as there are in-laws who pour acid on the face of son-in-law[s]. The news read further saying that they do so, because they did not bring sufficient dowry. When they pour acid on her face, he will go again in marriage market and then get married. This time hoping to ask for bigger dowry. To burning her alive is utter rejection of her existence on earth and denying her right to be alive.
The question is, who will teach these cruel and greedy ugly minority men of our society to feel guilty and ashamed of their senseless act ? Perhaps, here our media can play a role by telling these men that there is nothing honoring about such cowardice act. He must be made understood in a clear language that, women do come with her own brain and she has her right to choose the man she wants to spend rest of her life. If men of our society will learn it sooner, then there is no doubt that there will be less gender base violence.
Media on its part should not also shy away,talking and giving priority to women's issues. According to the SAS media monitoring report, Magh was six months in a row, most VAW cases found its place on this particular page. Mainstream media should put gender issues on front page for better result and this is what we have seen in case of acid attack.
Other than placement of news on front page and follow up news media must dig the real reason behind such inhuman and guiltless act, rather than face saving answer we get all the time from some so-called- pundits : that ours is a male dominated or patriarchal society. What about psychological disorder of men who resorts to violent behavior for a simple no for his feelings from a girl/woman ?
Government should join hands with Media to invite wide range of experts to find solutions as well as to help the wider mass understand about violent behaviour, narcissistic disorder, open debate on hurt ego, swelled up pride, male honor etc that gets inflated with one prick of rejection from a woman. There is one more area where media can play its role : when the general mass cry or hang the rapist, hang the attack or hang the murder. Such anger justice won't do any good to society.
An eye for an eye will make the entire nation blind. So, in case of such anger emotion driven moment, media has to come up with some quality reasoning that will pacify those anger with opposing but solid reasoning. For example, in Delhi hang the rapist demand and the same verdict did not reduce rape cases to happen in whole India. “Revenge is a kind of wild justice; which the more man’s nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out. For as for the first wrong, it doth but offend the law ; but the revenge of that wrong putteth the law out of office.” Francis Bacon
Role of government : the question is will the imposing of strong law and harsher punishment will change the mindset or the violent behaviour of a man ? I am also not opposing to our veterans who would like to have strict law on buy and sell of acid because this will reduce due to fear of punishment . Had hanging rapist or criminal has stopped recurring crimes of all types in any society ? The answer is straight NO ! never. Punishment is only a short term solution of a long term problem. So, do we seek short term solution or long term solution ? Government should design and introduce coursebook on gender issues from the very beginning in school and college. State must provide free medical treatment for victim.
As for the responsible citizen are concerned, we can always be the eyes and ears of police.
I have been watching crime shows on TV for really long time now. Naturally, I am tempted to judge men when they become violent or resort to crime. But, the truth is men are screaming for help with those violent behaviour. Are we listening them ? I seriously doubt that its only NGOs work to listen and address those scream.